It is amazing to see my children’s attention spans already lengthening after only a week of consistantly cutting back tv and increasing their book intake 🙂 They are begging for more books, and we are now taking daily (rather than weekly or bi-weekly) trips to the library. My daughter (2 1/2) likes to re-read her favorites, but my son (4 1/2) loves the adventure of a new book. He has started checking out non-fiction books about dinosaurs, boats, and airplanes, and now that’s his new favorite category. They are both back to reading books while we drive around town, which was a habit they had started to lose.
Not only can they pay attention longer, but their imaginative play is increasing by leaps and bounds. They seem to be making up for lost time! My kids didn’t even watch that much, and yet still we are seeing a dramatic improvement. May I also mention that they are much less frustrated and getting out a whole lot more energy. Something about reading for half an hour really calms them down. Watching TV for the same amount of time leaves them all revved up.
My quote for the day, as I reflect back on the amount of Dora and The Backyardigans my kids were watching , from The Read-Aloud Handbook:
The vocabulary of television is lower than nearly all forms of print, from comic books to children’s books and newspapers and magazines. A study of the scripts from eight programs favored by teenagers showed a sentence averaged only seven words (versus eighteen words in my local newspaper). Since TV is a picture medium, a fair comparison would be with children’s picture books:
- 72 percent of the TV scripts consisted of simple sentences or fragments/
- In Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey, only 33 percent of the text is simple sentences.
- In The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, only 21 percent of the text is simple sentences. (p. 203-204)
Thus one can say even good children’s picture books contain language that is at least twice the complexity of television’s. Imagine how much more complex the novels are.
Its only a little past noon, and here’s what we’ve read so far:
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