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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fostering A Love For Reading: Part 3

Turn Off The TV!!

Did you know?
  1. Television is the direct opposite of reading.
  2. For young children television is an antisocial experience, while reading is a social experience.
  3. Television deprives the child of his most important learning tools: questions.
  4. Television interrupts the child's most important language lesson: family conversation.
  5. Television encourages deceptive thinking.
  6. The vocabulary of television is lower than nearly all forms of print.
~ Jim Trealease, The Read Aloud Handbook

Today's tip goes hand in hand with part 2 of this series: Have Books Everywhere. What I mean is, it doesn't do a lot of good to have books everywhere in your house if you always have the TV on. If your child is anything like mine, TV watching causes them to go into a zombie like trance that makes them completely oblivious to their surroundings - good books and all!

That's not to say my son never watches TV; I wish that were the case (Note: the photo above is of our TV and our videos). But we do let him watch a little bit of a video every morning while we shower and get ready for the day (I don't get up early enough to do this while my son is still asleep). And we have recently instituted family movie nights once a week (though my son doesn't usually sit long enough to watch the entire movie).

That's pretty much it for TV in our house (while our son is awake). We do not have a working TV in our main living area, so there is no temptation for me to turn on the news or daytime television while we playing or hanging out. This is not as torturous as most parents imagine it might be!

Jim Trealease's The Read Aloud Handbook has some great info on the effects of TV watching, as well as suggestions for combating the TV addiction. Here are some of his suggestions, along with some of mine:

  • Set some limits for TV watching. For example: No TV on school nights, or no TV during dinner.
  • Listen to the radio (we usually have NPR on most of the day in our house), or books on tape. I usually find this more entertaining than mindless TV anyway. You might be surprised as well! Works in the car too; substitute audio books for DVDs on long car trips.
  • Absolutely no TV in kids bedrooms. No matter how old they are.
  • When the TV is on, turn down the volume and turn on the closed captioning. Voila! Now you're reading while you're watching TV!
  • If all else fails, remove the TV... or make it non-functional. You won't miss it as much as you imagine. Essentially that's what we did in our home. We got rid of our dish package and switched to basic cable via an antennae. After the change we no longer got any channels on our downstairs TV and our DVD player is not compatible with it. You can't watch TV if there is no TV to watch!

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