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Can Screen Time Replace Reading?

It’s a fair question for parents to think about: Will allowing screen time influence my child negatively if they prefer it over reading? Edublox investigates and shares a few tips on how to get your child excited about reading books.

A study conducted at the Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation tested children’s brains with magnetic resonance imaging to answer this question. The researchers found that reading led to higher connectivity between brain areas related to language and cognitive control than was the case with screen time – and the findings underscore the importance of reading for children to support healthy brain development and literacy.

Parents are faced with the challenge of raising children in a digital world, and limiting screen time is most definitely easier said than done. According to Robert Meyers, an adolescent psychologist, simply restricting a child’s time spent on an activity does not always lead to them engaging in activities that stimulate the brain and promote development, academic achievement, and creativity. “Parents need to provide alternatives and encourage participation. Reducing screen time without promoting positive alternatives will most likely result in children saying they are bored and there is nothing fun to do,” he says.

It’s therefore important to cultivate a love of reading in children, and luckily there are a few tips and tricks to get little ones excited about this activity.

Create a reading nook

Young children can benefit from a quiet, comfortable space to focus on their reading. The reading nook can be catered to the child’s interest but should be neat and uncluttered to avoid distractions. If you need some inspiration, here’s how to create a wonderful garden reading nook in your child’s room.

Read with your children

It can be a lonely exercise to read by oneself and a child benefits when a parent spends time reading with them. According to Meyers, kids need time with their parents to grow and develop intellectually, physically, and socially. Excessive screen time erodes the time available for fun, positive, and enriching parent/child interactions, but reading together can combat this.

Tackle underlying reading difficulties

Children might show an affinity toward the screen because they are struggling to read. The symptoms or signs below indicate that a child has a reading problem:

  • Reverses letters like b and d, or p and q, or reads words like no for on, rat for tar, won for now, saw for was.
  • Misreads little words, such as a for andthe for a, from for forthen for there, were for with.
  • Puts letters in the wrong order, reading felt as left, act as cat, reserve as reverse, expect as except.
  • Loses orientation on a line or page while reading, missing lines or reading previously-read lines again.
  • Reads aloud hesitantly, word by word, monotonously.
  • Tries to sound the letters of the word, but is then unable to say the correct word. For example, sounds the letters ‘c-a-t’ but then says cold.
  • Mispronounces words, or puts stress on the wrong syllables.
  • Foreshortens words, for example, ‘portion’ for proportion.
  • Omits prefixes, omits suffixes or adds suffixes.
  • Reads with poor comprehension.
  • Remembers little of what was read.
  • Cannot match the appropriate letter when given the sound.
  • Often ignores punctuation, omitting full stops or commas.

If your child is struggling with reading difficulties, book a free consultation for more information about Edublox products and services. Happy reading!