Is Screen Time Killing Reading Time for Our Kids?

I Can Read! Books Become an I Can Read! Member

I posted recently about my worry that the plethora of tech gadgets available to kids stops kids from reading. Do you see your child staring at a screen and wonder “Why aren’t you reading?!” I know I do. DS, wii, PS3, Flip, itouch…you name it kids can get their hands on it. Is reading suffering?

When my children were little books were a huge part of our day. I was one of those moms who had to learn how to use the shape sorter bucket. I am not a “sit down on the floor and play for hours” type. I did log in many hours playing trucks, GeoTrax, Barbies, Polly Pockets, Thomas, and Bob the Builder, but I developed many strategies for extricating myself from the play. “Mommy, has to switch the wash to the dryer.” “Mommy needs to make a phone call.” “Mommy thinks she heard the mailman…I’ll be right back!”

When playing was involved I exited quickly stage left. Not so with reading. I recall many reading moments with my oldest. She was a cranky baby, but books always calmed her down. My funniest moment with her was the time I pushed her near a display of “Molly & the Big Comfy Couch” books at a bookstore in the mall…Molly was her fave show on PBS. While I thumbed through a book probably called “Dealing with Your Difficult Toddler” or “Encouraging a Child Who Eats Air to Eat Food…Any Food,” she roared with laughter. She was “reading” a book AND got the joke. She connected the pictures to a funny moment from the show. I had never realized that a child of 18 months could “read” a book.

Fast forward to the preschool years, elementary school, middle school, and soon-to-be high school years…reading is a huge part of my children’s lives. But, technology is present in their lives, too. 3 years ago we got a wii. 4 years ago my older two got Nintendo DS. 10 years ago we got a PS2, but the kids never used it. Add in TV and laptops and the kids have many screen options. But, where does reading fit in to the screen time?

It’s July and the summer is finally here. Our days are scheduled with swim practice, trips to the health club, summer workbook time with Dad, and other activities like movies, playing outside, etc. Reading time is important…but do I need to schedule it. Wouldn’t assigned reading time seem too much like school?

My oldest reads spurts. Some days she reads a huge amount. Other days not at all. But I don’t worry about her reading. My middle must have her bedtime reading. I often cannot get her to read at other times. She chafes at any required reading. I don’t want to push it. My youngest…now he is a puzzle. He reads well, but won’t read independently. He and his dad are ploughing through the first harry Potter. He loves it but will not pick up Harry Potter by himself. He treasures his Dad and Kid time. I do “make” him read, but don’t want to make reading a huge issue.

My son is a “can read a chapter book, but won’t” type of reader. Have you heard of I Can Read! — the number one beginning reading series in the country? I Can Read! It’s the open door to a child’s adventure with the most beloved characters in the history of children’s literature.

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I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms blogging program to be eligible to get an “I Can Read!” book. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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