Reading, Technology and Our Kids

December 14, 2011

by Samantha Sears '14
Cohasset Mariner

For many individuals in our society, childhood memories consist of time with your family or parents. Parents were role models, super heroes, support systems and friends. Looking back, I'll bet many people can say some of their fondest memories were formed while reading with a parent. These reading memories could have transpired at the breakfast table, during naptime, before bed, or just a moment alone with Mom and Dad. However, today a child's memory of reading is slowly disintegrating with the increased use of technology. Children have more technological opportunities than those in the past. Unfortunately, technology has captured the minds of children in a way reading used to do.

Regrettably, the activity of reading is no longer the "go to" hobby for children of this generation. New technological gadgets such as iPods, Wii, Nintendo DS, television, computer games and much more, have taken over the minds of our young children. According to Jim Trelease's "The Read-Aloud Handbook," "Wiring the home or school is a long way from wiring the brain."

Jim Trelease is a zealous advocate of read-aloud activities with children. His book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook," addresses the positive influence reading-aloud can have on a child. His book suggests recommendations on how to make reading enjoyable for children, as well as, answering many common questions a parent may have regarding their child and reading. Jim Trelease is an inspiration and a well-renowned author whose only objective is to maintain the act of reading to children. He urges parents and teachers to take the correct steps in order to advance the reading level and knowledge of their children. Trelease describes that the ultimate focus of his book is to support and teach parents, teachers and adults that the goal of reading-aloud is not only to improve their child's reading, but also to increase their academic success and make positive connections between the child and his or her reading experience.

Nevertheless, with these advancements in technology, we are allowing technology to be more available to all different age groups; and even though, the media continually reminds us that these gadgets and activities are not as beneficial as we think, we as a society continue to place these technologies in the hands of our children. This practice needs to change. Reading has been proven to increase a child's vocabulary, comprehension skills, writing techniques, speech and so much more; so let me ask you this, "Why do we continue to purchase these technologies that stray away from these achievements? Why don't we strive for our children to be successful in school and in life?" Action must be taken to resolve this problem.

Studies have been conducted and it has been confirmed that television is one of the largest obstructions for child development. According to Trelease, Seattle's Children Hospital's research suggests that "for each hour of daily television viewed by the child before the age of three, the risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by the age of 7 is increased by 10 percent." It also suggested that the average number of hours the television set is on in a household is approximately 1,460 hours a year.

In order to make a positive change, parents have to become devoted to read-aloud activities in the home. The first step is to get your child to want to read and enjoy what they are doing. Parents, you should be reading to your child every day regardless of the age, reading comprehension ability or reading ability. The earlier you start, the better.

So my suggestion to you is to make a change in your home. Reverse this technology craze! Instead of turning on the TV, open a good book with your child and enjoy the benefits of reading-aloud with your family. Reading with your child and family can create new connections and better relationships. As a result, you can watch your child develop into an avid reader.


For more information, contact Communications and Media Relations at 508-565-1321.