Utilizing Facebook to Focus on Literacy

By Pulido

“I hate writing.”

“Why do I have to read?” 

As an 7th grade, English Language Arts teacher, in the Rio Grande Valley, these are just a few comments I hear day in and day out that cause me to worry about how such students can acquire reading and writing literacy’s that are far more enjoyable than the typical everyday curriculum based literacy.  Since, today’s schools, primarily focus on reading and writing as a part of what is known as a curriculum based literacy, the task may not be easy to teach as some students already lack motivation from the start.  A teacher’s task is to reflect on the main problem and find a pedagogical practice that will adhere to enabling reading and writing to and/or emerge.

 One tool that is beneficial to bringing out literacy in children and/or young adults is online chatting, for example, Facebook.  Facebook, not only, strengthens writing skills but allows reading through oral, listening and speaking that entails an emergence toward literacy.  For one, individuals are able to write what they feel and/or to a selected public audience. Thereafter, individuals read postings which reflect on comprehending and understanding the message being conveyed from the other end.

Notably, Facebook provides individuals with links, photo attachments, and profiles plus more that can add more feasible viewing of a person’s commonalities which include their personal interests.  Through Facebook, one can actually rekindle or find people that they have recognizably lost touch with.  It is also promising in as sense that people can meet up with a friend of a friend by what we call “Friends to Friends” set ups. 

In a classmates/teacher chat, students are able to meet online and discuss any item in particular such as a novel.   A topic of interest, possibly a theme, can be set forth and students will be able to start up conversations and be a voice to what they gathered from the reading at school.  This also allows the quiet student to actively engage and participate while considering all ‘points of view’ in response to the reading.  Therefore, it will further enable many more opinions to be shared and extended than what was actually implemented in the classroom. 

In writing, one aspect that it helps with is enabling students to be able to identify the type of writing being done as specified with ‘author’s purpose.’  Also, it enhances the student’s ability to recognize the type of writing they are creating and to what audience.  Recognizably, reading and writing are a shared commonality that will definitely be focused on to strengthen literacy in students.

 Facebook respectively has been a very appealing social network that allows individuals of all ages to target literacy skills. If analyzed critically, Facebook, primarily intertwines social and cultural skills with that of listening/speaking and reading/writing which for many entails the consistent and ongoing practice of literacy formulated in a way that is much more enjoyable and pleasing.  By teachers, utilizing Facebook, and possibly meeting on Facebook, online discussion will help students post comments while engaging in reading and writing plus targeting literacy altogether.  

For the most part, Facebook, certainly assures that people will not get bored nor frustrated with reading or writing.  The one thing that individuals may have problems with solely would be finding time to get onto a computer.  For others, the addiction of having Facebook is the convenience of having it programmed to their Blackberry and/or other technical device, which for most middle school students is very feasible, that better enables literacy to continue emerging through the tools provided in Facebook that will attract further audiences to become a part of today’s literacy pedagogical tool with promising outlooks for the future for individuals of all ages especially those in 7th grade who notably are in reading and writing block scheduling.

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