Television Taught My Kid To Read, So Eat It Haters
We’ve been reading to our children basically since birth, so we had a head start on the news that broke this week about how beneficial that practice is. Our kids also watch more TV than the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends. Clearly, I don’t actually believe that television taught my kid to read – but I can confidently say it helped.
The American Academy of Pediatrics announced this week a recommendation that parents read aloud to their kids from birth. Important brain development occurs within the first three years of a child’s life and reading aloud enhances their vocabulary and helps with communication skills, says the group. The same group also recommends no screen time before age two and after that only an hour a day. We have massively succeeded on their former recommendation and massively failed on the latter. And you know what? Our three-year-old can read.
While I am aware that a lot of this reading is memorization and recognition of words he’s seen over and over – he is also very good at sounding words out. This is where I recognize that television and other screen time from a V-tech reader we got him have really helped. His favorite show is called Wallykazam. It’s about a troll with a magic stick, who solves problems by creating words – big ones. He sounds them out. My child mimics and learns. The V-tech reader does the same thing – builds words and teaches letter and word combinations. I know that as parents we are all supposed to think that television is the devil – but I don’t. As with any recommendation, I take it with a grain of salt and realize that there are so many other factors involved.
Yes, if I sat my kids in front of the television for hours on end and didn’t interact with them – I would own up to being a crap mom. But frankly, I don’t care what blanket statements people make about “screen time” – if my kids are watching educational shows and learning from them it’s cool with me.
It’s one of those things parents have to figure out on their own. I’m sure all kids react differently to stimuli. For example, I can’t let my child play with my phone. He goes to YouTube and zones out on videos. He just stares at them. That is totally not the way he interacts when he watches television – he dances, talks back, points things out and asks me questions. I have no problem with this.
Yes, maybe television didn’t teach my kid to read on its own. But it helped out a little – I’m sure of it. Just make sure that you secure them correctly – because that is one aspect that no one really talks about that is actually really terrifying.