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Television's Effect On Reading And Academic Achievement
Did you know?
American children, ages 2-17, watch television on average almost 25 hours per week or 3 ½ hours a day. Almost one in five watch more than 35 hours of TV each week (Gentile & Walsh, 2002).
Twenty percent of 2- to 7-year-olds, 46% of 8- to 12-year-olds, and 56% of 13- to 17-year-olds have TVs in their bedrooms (Gentile & Walsh, 2002).
Children spend more time watching television than any other activity except sleeping.
Television’s impact on reading and other academic skills depends not only on the amount of television watched, but also on what is being watched as well as the age of the child (Reinking, 1990).
Successful readers read often.
Studies have shown that children who watch carefully constructed educational programs that are aimed at their age level (such as Sesame Street), do better on pre-reading skills (at age 5) than children who watched infrequently or not at all (MacBeth, 1996, Wright, et al., 2001).
These same studies further show that children who watch cartoons or other purely entertainment television shows during their pre-school years, do poorer on pre-reading skills at age 5 (MacBeth, 1996).
Children between the ages of 3 and 5 are at a critical stage in brain development for the development of language and other cognitive skills. The extent to which heavy television viewing can influence the development of brain neural networks, and displaces time the child would spend in other activities and verbal interactions, influences early cognitive development.
Early elementary school age children
Children achieve more success in early reading skills if they have...