Saturday, 2 March 2013

Does reading books with your children have more benefits than watching screens?


Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/phildowsing/


Does reading books with your children have more benefits than watching screens? This was the question posed to me by The Works who are currently looking to promote the benefits of reading over watching TV and computers.

Recent research shows that the average 10 year old has access to give different screens at home. Psychologist Dr Aric Sigman says that a child born today will have spent an entire year glued to screens by the time they reach the age of seven. "In addition to the main family television, for example, many young children have their own bedroom TV along with portable hand-held computer game consoles (eg, Nintendo, Playstation, Xbox), smartphone with games, internet and video, a family computer and a laptop and/or a tablet computer (eg iPad)."

Professionals such as Dr Sandara Williams who is a children's literacy expert were interviewed by The Works, who had this to say "Reading a book, together with the tactile turning of the page is pleasurable and a good picture book has qualities that may not be found in electronic media."

The Works sent me two books to read with my children. Disney's 365 Stories for Boys and Disney's 365 Stories for Girls.


Both of the books feature colourful artwork with original Disney stories including favourite Disney characters from films such as Toy Story, Aladdin  Mickey Mouse and of course, the Disney Princesses.  There's is a story for every day of the year and they're just the right length to read as your popping your little one into bed.

And my answer to the question above? Of course there are more benefits to me reading with my children and they far outweigh any benefits that screens can offer. We've done a bedtime story routine with both of my children since 4 months old and consequently they've both developed a love of books, they even pick new books for themselves as rewards when they've done well at school.  One huge benefit is just giving them that one-to-one individual time and sharing the joy of a story and using our imagination to guess what might happen next. It's about the interaction and conversation that stems from us reading a book together rather than sitting blankly in front of the TV. Reading is also good for winding down at the end of the day, whereas playing computer games or watching TV can be too much of a stimulant. I think this is even more important with my son as it's been shown that there is a gender gap and boys tend to fall behind at literacy more than girls. 

In short, I don't think that they can be a downside to reading with your children but there's definitely some negatives to staring at screens!

With thanks to The Works.

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