Reading comics and/or romance novels

versus

watching PBS and The Discovery channel,

which is better?


"The latest National Endowment for the Arts report draws on a variety of sources, public and private, and essentially reaches one conclusion: Americans are reading less."  see also The Long Decline of Reading  and  Reading for pleasure falling among US adults  and  More and More Americans Who Can Read Are Choosing Not To. Can We Afford to Write Them Off?  and  Americans Read, Understand Less  and  Children are reading less and are less proficient


"Children as young as seven are more likely to own a mobile phone than a book, figures show, fuelling fears over a decline in reading."     and    Number of children reading for fun has fallen since 2005, study reveals


The Lost Book Generation  and  Aliteracy and Literacy Decline  and  POLL: 28 Percent Of Americans Have Not Read A Book In The Past Year


"Twilight of the Books" and Excerpts from "Twilight of the Books"  and  Are Americans reading less?  and  The Decline of Reading. Leisure Reading Trends in the Netherlands (1955 - 1995)


"7 Unconventional Reasons Why You Absolutely Should Be Reading Books" -   Huffington Post (Oct 2013)


Amazon Listmania List of Books on: The Power of Reading


 

          

     

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This work by www.tvsmarter.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.     





Does Reading Make You a Better Student?

(Free voluntary reading (FVR))

(Reading for Pleasure)


"Fifteen-year-old students who are highly engaged readers and whose parents have the lowest occupational status achieve significantly higher average reading scores (540) than students whose parents have the highest occupational status but who are poorly engaged in reading," the report says. All the students who are highly engaged in reading achieve reading literacy scores that are significantly above the international mean, whatever their family background." - BBC News (Nov 2002) 


"Reading was also linked to careers success, as the research finds 16-year-olds who read books at least once a month were significantly more likely to be in a professional or managerial job at 33 than those who didn't read books at all." - The Guardian (April 2011)


"Whether rich or poor, residents of the United States or China, illiterate or college graduates, parents who have books in the home increase the level of education their children will attain, according to a 20-year study led by Mariah Evans, University of Nevada, Reno associate professor of sociology and resource economics. For years, educators have thought the strongest predictor of attaining high levels of education was having parents who were highly educated. But, strikingly, this massive study showed that the difference between being raised in a bookless home compared to being raised in a home with a 500-book library has as great an effect on the level of education a child will attain as having parents who are barely literate (3 years of education) compared to having parents who have a university education (15 or 16 years of education)... Being a sociologist, Evans was particularly interested to find that children of lesser-educated parents benefit the most from having books in the home."  -  eScienceNews (May 2010)  and  EducationNews.org (May 2010)  and Evidence Based Mommy (Aug 2010)  and  Rodney Trice (Aug 2010)





The single factor most strongly associated with reading achievement--more than socioeconomic status or any instructional approach--is independent reading. (Krashen, 1994)


Students in the top 5% of their class read 144 times more than students in the bottom 5%. (Preddy, 2007)


On national testing, students who scored in the top 25% spent 59% more time reading than students who scored in the bottom 25%. (Preddy, 2007)


Vocabulary, number and symbol sense, as well as the ability to read and comprehend word problems are important factors effecting achievement in math. (Fite, 2002)


A developed literacy in reading is an essential determining factor for entry-level workplace and college (trade, technical, 2-year, 4-year) readiness and success. (ACT, 2006)


Lee's Summit West - Library Media Center (Aug 2011)





"When children read for pleasure, when they get “hooked on books," they acquire, involuntarily and without conscious effort, nearly all of the so-called "language skills" many people are so concerned about:  They will become adequate readers, acquire a large vocabulary, develop the ability to understand and use complex grammatical constructions, develop a good writing style, and become good (but not necessarily perfect) spellers.  Although free voluntary reading alone will not ensure attainment of the highest levels of literacy, it will at least ensure an acceptable level.  Without it, I suspect that children simply do not have a chance. " -  Power of Reading (page 88) by Stephen Krashen




Reading Volume and General Knowledge


"The results indicated that the more avid readers in our study —regardless of their general abilities— knew more about how a carburetor worked, were more likely to know who their United States senators were, more likely to know how many teaspoons are equivalent to one tablespoon, were more likely to know what a stroke was, and what a closed shop in a factory was, etc. -   "What Reading Does for the Mind" by Anne E. Cunningham, Associate Professor of Cognition and Development (pdf) -  Excerpt





Reading for pleasure: A research overview - National Literacy Trust November 2006 (pdf)


What Reading Does for the Mind - Full Text (pdf) and Excerpt


Research: Reading Voluminously and Voluntarily  Overview


"The connection between leisure reading activities and reading achievement has been established by numerous studies (e.g., Watkins and Ewards, 1992). Part of the reason for this connection may be that students who frequently read for fun not only gain practice in the process of reading, but also are likely to be exposed to a broad scope of topics and situations in their reading that can provide a base from which future reading experiences are enriched and made more meaningful. A clear connection between frequent reading for fun and higher average reading scores is suggested by the NAEP 1994 (and 1992) results. At all three grades, students who more frequently read for fun on their own time had higher average proficiencies." - NAEP (1994)


"Over the past 20 years, I’ve reviewed scores of studies that have compared students in classes that include SSR with those that don’t, and I’m confident that children who read for pleasure do as well or better than their SSR-deprived peers. And the longer the program, the greater the gains. In eight out of 10 studies that tracked pupils in long-term SSR programs of 12 months or more, students who read recreationally outperformed their counterparts in classes that lacked leisure reading—and in the other two studies, there was no difference between the two groups."  -  School Library Journal (Jan 2006)


Independent Reading and School Achievement - "Voluntary reading involves personal choice, reading widely from a variety of sources, and choosing what one reads. Aliterates, people who have the ability to read but choose not to, miss just as much as those who cannot read at all. Individuals read to live life to its fullest, to earn a living, to understand what is going on in the world, and to benefit from the accumulated knowledge of civilization. Even the benefits of democracy and the capacity to govern ourselves successfully depend on reading." - American Library Association


88 Generalizations about Free Voluntary Reading  -  Stephen Krashen


Literacy Falls for Graduates From College, Testing Finds "We're seeing substantial declines in reading for pleasure, and it's showing up in our literacy levels," - The New York Times (Dec 2005)


"Reading books is the only out-of-school activity for 16-year-olds that is linked to getting a managerial or professional job in later life, says an Oxford study."  -  Science Daily (May 2011)


"Analysis of data from four participating local authorities (2008-09) showed that 70% of children progressed by 2 or more National Curriculum sublevels and nearly and 33% by 3 or more. Data specifically indicates that as a result of the project the rate of progress for boys is narrowing the attainment gap between boys and girls." - The Power of Reading Project 2010-11


More on the National Reading Panel (NRP) Report on "Fluency" - Stephen Krashen   and Joanne Yatvin (Who served on the NPR)  and  Joanne Yatvin's article in Amazon.com  -  National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Position Paper on the National Reading Panel Report


Can Reading Make You Smarter ? - Mastery Learning Institute (Dec 2000) (pdf)


Teaching Adult Literacy in the Appalachians - National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy


Book flood describes the recent theory, tested in a number of countries, that being exposed to literature will help students learn English as a second language more quickly and effectively than more traditional methods. - Wikipedia


Free Voluntary Reading and Autonomy in Second Language Acquisition: Improving TOEFL Scores from Reading Alone - Beniko Mason


"Reading for Pleasure: Short Novels in Academic University ESL Programs"  - New Jersey City University (1994)


Creating Lifelong Readers - Chapter 1 of "Building Student Literacy Through Sustained Silent Reading"


Free Voluntary Reading (FVR) leads to improved reading skills, writing skills, comprehension, vocabulary, grammar, spelling, and general knowledge.


"Science backs this up. When researchers tried to figure out what helped third- and fourth-graders remember what they read, they found that the students’ interest in the passage was far more important than the “readability” of the passage — thirty times more important." - Psychology Today (Oct 2010)




 

Literacy Campaigns: Access to Books is the First Step...


""Reluctant" readers are often those who have little access to books: Worthy and McKool (1996) studied 11 sixth graders who "hated to read." Nine of the 11 had little access to interesting reading material at home or in school, and none had visited the public library during the previous year. The two who had access to interesting reading were the only ones who read "with any degree of regularity" (p. 252). Ironically, even though all were described as "reluctant readers," all appeared to be quite enthusiastic about "light reading" (e.g. comics).”


Stephen D. Krashen










Early love of books, including turning the pages!




Does Educational TV Make You a Better Student?



"Preschool children who watched a few hours a week of educational programming perform better on achievement tests over time than their peers who watch more general entertainment shows, according to researchers at the University of Texas in Austin." - Center for Media Literacy  and  The New York Times (May 1995)


     Note: the researchers did not compare preschool children who watched educational programming with preschool children who watched no TV. Instead, they compared preschool children who watched educational programming with preschool children who watched general entertainment shows. They found that the preschool children who watched educational programming performed better than the preschool children who watched general entertainment shows.

   But their study gives the erroneous impression that educational programming is better for preschool children than no television.



Subtitling: "In fact, almost 50 percent of Finnish television consists of foreign TV programs and movies that must be read — and read quickly — in order to be understood. Finnish 9-year-olds want to learn to read in order to understand TV and therefore watch a moderately heavy amount. By age 14, however, the situation reverses itself and Nordic children who watch a light amount of TV outscore the heavy viewers." - Trelease on Reading


Planet Read "Same Language Subtitling (SLS) is a simple yet powerful idea by which lyrics are added as subtitles to film songs on TV programs. Words are highlighted in perfect timing as they are sung. This association of the spoken and written word is a proven method to improve reading skills." (India) Article about Planet Read


Kids and TV: Truth, myths may surprise parents - Dimitri A. Christakis, a pediatrician and researcher at Children's Hospital in Seattle


"Modern technology, if we use it instead of abusing it, can actually help us create lifetime readers." - Jim Trelease


Passive Learning From Television (Jstor) by Herbert  Krugman Full PDF Version






Watching TV and General Knowledge


"Similarly, we have analyzed a variety of other misconceptions in a number of other different domains—including knowledge of World War II, the world’s languages, and the components of the federal budget—and all of them replicate the pattern shown for this question. The cognitive anatomy of misinformation appears to be one of too little exposure to print (or reading) and over-reliance on television for information about the world. Although television viewing can have positive associations with knowledge when the viewing is confined to public television, news, and/or  documentary material (Hall, Chiarello, & Edmondson, 1996; West & Stanovich, 1991; West et al., 1993), familiarity with the prime time television material that defines mass viewing in North America is most often negatively associated with knowledge acquisition.  - "What Reading Does for the Mind" by Anne E. Cunningham, Associate Professor of Cognition and Development (pdf) -  Excerpt






"Angeline Lillard and Jennifer Peterson, both of the University of Virginia's department of psychology, wanted to see whether watching fast-paced television had an immediate influence on kids' executive function -- skills including attention, working memory, problem solving and delay of gratification that are associated with success in school. Television's negative effect on executive function over the long term has been established, the researchers wrote Monday in the journal Pediatrics, but less is known about its immediate effects. To test what those might be, Lillard and Peterson randomly assigned 60 4-year-olds to three groups: one that watched nine minutes of a fast-paced, "very popular fantastical cartoon about an animated sponge that lives under the sea;" one that watched nine minutes of slower-paced programming from a PBS show "about a typical U.S. preschool-aged boy;" and a third group that was asked to draw for nine minutes with markers and crayons. Immediately after their viewing and drawing tasks were complete, the kids were asked to perform four tests to assess executive function.  Unfortunately for the denizens of Bikini Bottom, the kids who watched nine minutes of the frenetic high jinks of the "animated sponge" scored significantly worse than the other kids." - Los Angeles Times (Sept 2011)  and  Pediatrics (Sept 2011)  and Medical News Today (Sept 2011)  and  USA Today (Sept 2011)  and  Science Daily (Sept 2011)  and  Mail Online (Sept 2011)  and  PsychCentral (Sept 2011)  and  Earth Sky (Sept 2011)  and  Obesity Panacea (Sept 2011)  and  The New York Times (Sept 2011)  and  San Francisco Chronicle (Sept 2011)  and  Psypost (Sept 2011)  and  sott.net (Sept 2011)  and  Psychology Today (Sept 2011)  and  Live Science (Sept 2011)  and  US News Health (Sept 2011)  and  MedPage Today (Sept 2011)


"Christakis's mice were divided into two groups, one in a normal environment and one in which the mice were overstimulated. After the first 10 days of the mice's lives, the overstimulated mice's cartons were bombarded with audio from cartoons and flashing lights that were in rhythm with the audio for six hours a night. Their mothers also remained in the cartons with them. Then they tested cognition, behavior, and activity in the mice. They found that the overstimulated mice were hyperactive, took more risks, and had learning problems.” - Medical Daily (July 2012)  and  Scientific Reports (July 2012)  and  Seattle Mama Doc (Jan 2012)  and  You Tube (Dec 2011)  and  NCBI (July 2012)  and  International Business News (Feb 2012)  and  Neuro Research Project (July 2012)  and  Roots of Action (2012)  and  tvSmarter Blog (March 2014) 


Short attention span linked to TV - USA Today


"Middle-class 6-year-olds matched for sex, age, pretest WPPSI IQ, and TV-viewing time were blindly assigned to a restricted TV-viewing group or an unrestricted group. Restricted parents halved subjects' previous TV-viewing rates and interacted 20 min./day with subjects for a 6-week period. Unrestricted TV parents provided similar interactions but did not limit viewing. Results tentatively suggest that TV restriction enhanced Performance IQ, reading time, and reflective Matching Familiar Figures scores." - Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology (Winter 1980)


"Watching too much television can change the structure of a child's brain in a damaging way, according to a new study. Researchers found that the more time a child spent viewing TV, the more profound the brain alterations appeared to be. The Japanese study looked at 276 children aged between five and 18, who watched between zero and four hours TV per day, with the average being about two hours. MRI brain scans showed children who spent the most hours in front of the box had greater amounts of grey matter in regions around the frontopolar cortex - the area at the front of the frontal lobe. But this increased volume was a negative thing as it was linked with lower verbal intelligence, said the authors, from Tohoku University in the city of Sendai. They suggested grey matter could be compared to body weight and said these brain areas need to be pruned during childhood in order to operate efficiently. ‘These areas show developmental cortical thinning during development, and children with superior IQs show the most vigorous cortical thinning in this area,’ the team wrote."  -    Daily Mail (Jan 2014)  and  Washington Post (Dec 2013)  and  Cerebral Cortex (Nov 2013)


...watching a lot of television during childhood means you are a lot less likely to have a degree by your mid-twenties, according to new University of Otago research - University of Otago


TV in child's room may hinder learning - MSNBC (July 2005)


"Children under the age of three who are allowed to watch too much television have below-average reading abilities by the time they are six, a new study claims." - Telegraph (Nov 2005)


"Middle school students who watch TV or play video games during the week do worse in school, a new study finds, but weekend viewing and gaming doesn't affect school performance much." - USAToday (Oct 2006)


Reading Skills May Be Hurt by Too Much TV - Personal MD (Oct 2003)


"NAEP Reading Score vs. Hours TV/video Watched on School Day 17 Year Olds, National"  -  Wing Institute (2009)


Rembering what you see on TV: researchers found that when formal features (camera edits) increased to more than 10 in 2 minutes (that is greater than once every 12 seconds) that viewers remembered much less. - Scientific American (Feb 2002)


"Is today's fast-paced media culture creating a toxic environment for our children's brains?" - Excerpt from "Endangered Minds: Why Children Don't Think And What We Can Do About It "




More TV = Less Reading


"A major study that compared 10 communities with or without television revealed that television viewing had the greatest impact on other media use, such as comic reading, listening to the radio, and going to the movies.17 Television viewing had little influence on the time that children spent reading books or doing homework, even during its early introductory stages." - AAP Pediatrics (Feb 2006)


So basically the authors concluded that the hours that children spend watching television did not displace reading because reading comic books does not count as "reading". Also note their term "even during its early introductory stages". During TV's early introductory stages people (adults and children) watched much less TV than is common today.


"The most striking results were generational. In general, older Dutch people read more. It would be natural to infer from this that each generation reads more as it ages, and, indeed, the researchers found something like this to be the case for earlier generations. But, with later ones, the age-related growth in reading dwindled. The turning point seems to have come with the generation born in the nineteen-forties. By 1995, a Dutch college graduate born after 1969 was likely to spend fewer hours reading each week than a little-educated person born before 1950. As far as reading habits were concerned, academic credentials mattered less than whether a person had been raised in the era of television. The N.E.A., in its twenty years of data, has found a similar pattern. Between 1982 and 2002, the percentage of Americans who read literature declined not only in every age group but in every generation—even in those moving from youth into middle age, which is often considered the most fertile time of life for reading. We are reading less as we age, and we are reading less than people who were our age ten or twenty years ago." - The New Yorker (Dec 2007)







Light Reading



Comic Books


"Zappa...reveals he became devoted to comics as a child because they helped him get to grips with dyslexia. He tells Royal Flush magazine, "Comics first got me reading... I fell in love with the pictures and the stories. "I designed MCFearless for dyslexics like myself with tons of images, to really engage the reader on every page and make the reader want to know how these images connect. I actually drew 300 monsters for that purpose."" - ContactMusic (Dec 2009)


"And along with librarians, teachers also are embracing comics, both for recreational and instructional reading." - USA Today


Schools Turn to Comics as Trial Balloon - Washington Post


Superman Finds New Fans Among Reading Instructors - The New York Times


A Short History of Comics in the Classroom - AIGA


Strengths of Comics in Education - Humble Comics


Can the X-Men Make You Smarter? - Parents' Choice


Graffix is a fiction series in comic-strip format, designed for reluctant readers - Word Pool


"There is no current research that I know of on the use of graphic novels, but there is evidence suggesting that comic book reading can be a conduit to "heavier" reading. In our study, we found that middle school boys who read comic books read more in general than boys who did not read comics, read more books, and enjoyed reading more (Ujiie and Krashen, 1996)... There are also compelling case histories of children who were reluctant readers until they discovered comics... Comic reading led to other reading.  After a year or two, Haugaard's eldest son gave his collection away to his younger brother (who now "pores over the comic books lovingly"), and Haugaard noted that "he is far more interested now in reading Jules Verne and Ray Bradbury, books on electronics and science encyclopedias" - Stephen Krashen - Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Southern California


“Dorrell and Carroll (1981) show how comic books can be used to stimulate additional reading. They placed comic books in a junior high school library but did not allow them to circulate; students had to come to the library to read the comics.  Dorrell and Carroll then compared the circulation of non-comic book material and total library use during the 74 days the comics were in the library, and the 57 days before they were available.  The presence of comics resulted in a dramatic 82 percent increase in library use (traffic) and a 30 percent increase in circulation of non-comic material.” - The Power of Reading - page 108


Teen Romance


"Kyung-Sook Cho... worked with a group of women in their thirties who, despite years of formal training (grammar-based) study of English in Korea and considerable residence in the United States, had made little progress in English. Cho first suggested that her subjects read books from the Sweet Valley High series, written for girls 12 and older. These books proved to be too difficult; and they could only be read with great effort, and with extensive recourse to the dictionary. Cho then asked her subjects to try Sweet Valley Twins, novels based on the same characters but at a younger age, written for readers ages 8 to 12. Once again, the texts were too difficult. Cho then recommended Sweet Valley Kids, novels dealing with the same characters at an even younger age, written for readers ages five to eight. Her subjects, all adults, became enthusiastic Sweet Valley Kids readers."


"Cho reported significant vocabulary growth in her readers... and also gathered informal evidence of their progress, including reports from their friends... Perhaps the most impressive result is the report of one of her subjects one year after she started reading Sweet Valley books. After one year, this subject, who had never read for pleasure in English prior to this study, had read all 34 Sweet Valley Kids books, had read many books from the Sweet Valley Twins and Sweet Valley High series, and had started to read Danielle Steele, Sydney Sheldon, and other authors of romances in English" - The Power of Reading - page 111


Home Run Books


"Trelease (2001) introduced the concept of a "home run" book, a reading experience that readers claim stimulated their initial interest in reading... It was difficult to characterize home run books, because, as in other studies, children named a wide variety of home run books. Very few titles were selected by more than a handful of students. The champion home run book was Harry Potter (19), followed by Goosebumps (11), the Three Little Pigs (11), Dr. Seuss (6), Animorphs (5), Scary Stories (5) and Winnie the Pooh (5)... In agreement with previous studies, a large percentage of children reported that they had had a home run experience. Having a home run experience appears to typically lead to greater reading interest, but it does not guarantee it. It was clearly the case that more of those who had home run experiences became enthusiastic readers." - Stephen Krashen - Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Southern California


All hail the power of the “home run book!” Our 9 year old started third grade reading almost on grade level but a little low, but in the last two months has found and ravenously consumed his first “home run book” - Eragon.









Reading For Pleasure - for Children

(Free voluntary reading (FVR))


At Home       


TV.  If kids are entertained by two letters, imagine the fun they'll have with twenty-six.  Open your child's imagination.  Open a book.  

- Author Unknown                


Raising Kids Who Want to Read—Even During School Vacations - Psychology Today


Creative ways to encourage your child to read - Creative Teaching


"Ten Facts Parents Should Know About Reading" - Jim Trelease


"The research supports the commonsense view that when books are readily available, when the print environment is enriched, more reading is done. A print-rich environment in the home is related to how much children read; children who read have more books in the home..." - The Power of Reading - page 57


"The report, by the National Literacy Trust (NLT), found that pupils from lower earning families - defined as those eligible for free school meals - are less likely to read for pleasure and more likely to say that reading is "boring". They are also likely to have far fewer books at home." - Guardian Unlimited


"Whatever type of reader your child is, starting a book club can help foster a love of reading and provide a fun way to get families in your neighborhood together." - GreatSchools.net


"The critical role of self-selection is confirmed in this report from a reader interviewed by Carlsen and Sherrill (1988): As soon as I was progressing through the primary grades I remember a distinct lack of enthusiasm for reading because my mother tried to force books on me, which I disliked, either because they were too difficult or they were about subject matter in which I had no interest. My older sister had been extremely fond of horse stories and I could not tolerate them. - The Power of Reading - page 88


What we read with inclination makes a much stronger impression. If we read without inclination, half the mind is employed in fixing the attention; so there is but one half to be employed on what we read.

- Samuel Johnson


Childrens Books - About.com  and  "10 Ways to Help You Raise Kids Who Love Reading" - About.com


"5 Ways to Motivate Young Writers and Readers" - Psychology Today (Oct 2013)


"Raise a Child Who Loves to Read" - Aha! Parenting


"Two Case Studies" - Antimoon.com


"They found that children who used the Internet more had higher scores on standardized reading tests after six months, and higher grade point averages one year and 16 months after the start of the study than did children who used it less. More time spent reading, given the heavily text-based nature of Web pages, may account for the improvement. Jackson also suggests that there may be yet-undiscovered differences between reading online and reading offline that may make online reading particularly attractive to children and teenagers."  - American Psychological Association (Nov 2007)



Summer Reading


""What we know is that children who do not read in the summer lose two to three months of reading development while kids who do read tend to gain a month of reading proficiency," Allington said. "This creates a three to four month gap every year. Every two or three years the kids who don't read in the summer fall a year behind the kids who do.""  -  Science Daily (July 2010)


"Regardless of other activities, the best predictor of summer loss or summer gain is whether or not a child reads during the summer. And the best predictor of whether a child reads is whether or not he or she owns books. While economically-advantaged kids often have their own bedroom libraries, poor kids usually depend heavily on schools for books to read."  - Scholastic.com


"Is 'Summer Setback' the smoking gun in the 'reading gap' between rich and poor?"  - Trelease On Reading


Highlights of Research on Summer Reading and Effects on Student Achievement - New York State Library



Libraries


"Cuts in library staff and hours of operation are associated with declines in children's reading and scholastic achievement scores Over the last decade..." -  Psychology Today (August 2014)


"Elley found the availability of books is a key factor in reading achievement. He studied the reading achievement of children in 32 countries and found that factors which consistently differentiated high-scoring and low-scoring countries were large school libraries, large classroom libraries, regular book borrowing, frequent silent reading in class, and frequent story reading aloud by teachers. The highest scoring countries typically provide their students with greater access to books in the home, in nearby community libraries and book stores, and in the school." - EdResearch.info


Classroom Libraries - Seattle's Child (Sept 2007)


School Bus Library - Huffington Post (April 2010)


"Chicago Parents, Kids Stage Sit-In to Build a School Library" - School Library Journal (Sept 2010)


"The surprising potential of a prison library" - Boston.com (Dec 2010)



In School:


"Analysis of data from four participating local authorities (2008-09) showed that 70% of children progressed by 2 or more National Curriculum sublevels and nearly and 33% by 3 or more. Data specifically indicates that as a result of the project the rate of progress for boys is narrowing the attainment gap between boys and girls." - The Power of Reading Project 2010-11


"Teacher William Marson shares his success in motivating sixth-graders to read using a program he calls Reading for Fun (RFF)." - Education World


Sustained Silent Reading (SSR)


"Over the past 20 years, I’ve reviewed scores of studies that have compared students in classes that include SSR with those that don’t, and I’m confident that children who read for pleasure do as well or better than their SSR-deprived peers. And the longer the program, the greater the gains. In eight out of 10 studies that tracked pupils in long-term SSR programs of 12 months or more, students who read recreationally outperformed their counterparts in classes that lacked leisure reading—and in the other two studies, there was no difference between the two groups."  -  School Library Journal (Jan 2006)


"This study examines the impact of an intervention targeting economically disadvantaged children in child care centres. The program was designed to flood over 330 child care centres with high quality children's books, at a ratio of 5 books per child, and provide 10 hours of training to child-care staff." - National Literacy Trust


Reading Connects - National Reading Campaign funded by the Department for Education and Skills (Britain) and the National Literacy Trust


"Reading Workshop" - Scholastic


"What Johnny Likes to Read Is Hard to Find in School" - Reading Research Quarterly


"Kids' book club ends first year with formal tea" - San Francisco Chronicle (May 2008)


"A New Assignment: Pick Books You Like"  - The New York Times (Aug 2009)


"Innovative ways to promote reading in school"  - Wikireadia.org.uk


"The Book Bowl makes a sport of reading!" - Education World (2007)


"Get the kids to enjoy reading and writing; get them glasses if they need them; give teachers control of their classrooms. Scores climbed."  -  This American Life (Oct 2004)





Watching TV For Pleasure



"I had this sense of kids clamoring to use media and parents trying to keep their finger in the dam," lead researcher Victoria Rideout said. "I found that not to be a very accurate picture in most cases. Instead, a generation of parents raised on TV is largely encouraging the early use of television, video games and computers by their own children." - MSNBC (May 2006)



"Top 5 WeTime Activities for Families: 1. Watching television or movies (86%)"  Reuters (Jan 2011)












TV Limiting Technology


List & Comparison of TV blockers


Token Timer


Power Cop


Play Limit


Power Plug Lock


Time Machine


Eye Timer


TV Be Gone


TV Be Gone - Article


Stanford Student Media Awareness to Reduce Television (SMART) curriculum is being used in California and Michigan. SMART in San Francisco, SMART in Canada





Parents Reading to Their Young Children


"But recent research by Celia Brownell and her colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh suggests that reading may also be a way that parents can help children learn about the emotional world." - Psychology Today (Sept 2013)  and  Wiley Online Library (April 2012)


"These findings suggest that TV co-viewing produces a relatively detrimental communication environment for young children, while shared book reading encourages effective mother–child exchanges."  -  Wiley Online Library (Oct 2011)


"Poring over the works of Dr. Seuss, the adventures of the Bernstain Bears or exploring the worlds of Hans Christian Andersen with a child has always been a great parent-child bonding exercise. But, according to George Georgiou, a University of Alberta professor in educational psychology, it is instrumental for English-speaking children if they are to acquire the language skills, particularly comprehension, essential to their future reading ability."  - Science Daily (Feb 2010)


"There was greater frontal lobe activation in children when they were engaged in a picture book reading task with their mothers, as opposed to passive viewing of a videotape in which the story was read to them. Social and verbal engagement of the mother in reading picture books with her young child may mediate frontal brain activity in the child." -  Pubmed (Oct 2009) 


"Parents should be encouraged not only to provide language input to their children through reading or storytelling but also to engage their children in two-sided conversations, the study concludes."  - Science Daily (July 2009)


"Young children whose parents read aloud to them have better language and literacy skills when they go to school, according to a review published online ahead of print in the Archives of Disease in Childhood."  - Science Daily (May 2008) and E! Science News (May 2008)


Read-Alouds are Good for Literacy Development: A Comment on Freakonomics  - SixWise.com (Feb 2007)


"Toddlers read to daily by their mothers from an early age have bigger vocabularies and superior cognitive skills."  - BPS Reseach (July 2006)  and  PubMed (July 2006)


Read-Alouds are Good for Literacy Development: A Comment on Freakonomics  - Stephen Krashen (Jan 2006)


"The percentage of prekindergarten children ages 3–5 read to frequently by a family member (i.e., three or more times in the week preceding the survey) increased from 78 percent in 1993 to 86 percent in 2005. There were also increases in the percentage of children whose family members frequently told them a story (from 43 to 54 percent); taught them letters, words, or numbers (from 58 to 77 percent); and taught them songs or music (from 41 to 54 percent)." - National Center For Educational Statistics  (2006)


Chronicle of an Infant Bibliophile - Reviews from a Baby Bookworm





TV and Young Children


"These findings suggest that TV co-viewing produces a relatively detrimental communication environment for young children, while shared book reading encourages effective mother–child exchanges."  -  Wiley Online Library (Oct 2011)


"The number of parents reading to their children regularly has fallen dramatically in the past two years, research has found. " - The Telegraph (Sept 2008)


Parents Should Limit Young Children's Exposure To Background TV - Science Daily (July 2008)


"The scientists found that for every hour per day spent watching baby DVDs and videos, infants understood an average of six to eight fewer words than infants who did not watch them." - Science Daily (Aug 2007)


"Children under the age of three who are allowed to watch too much television have below-average reading abilities by the time they are six, a new study claims." - Telegraph (Nov 2005)


"France's broadcast authority has banned French channels from marketing TV shows to children under 3 years old, to shield them from developmental risks it says television viewing poses at that age." - Otago Daily Times (Aug 2008)


"The results of this study have important implications for language acquisition. It indicates exposure to language via television is insufficient for teaching language to very young children. To learn new words, children must be actively engaged in the process with responsive language teachers." - Science Daily (July 2007)


Experts Rip 'Sesame' TV Aimed at Tiniest Tots - Washington Post (March 2006)


"The public health implications of early television and video viewing are potentially large. There are both theoretical and empirical reasons to believe that the effects of media exposure on children's development are more likely to be adverse before the age of about 30 months than afterward," - Science Daily (May 2007)


"There was greater frontal lobe activation in children when they were engaged in a picture book reading task with their mothers, as opposed to passive viewing of a videotape in which the story was read to them. Social and verbal engagement of the mother in reading picture books with her young child may mediate frontal brain activity in the child." -  Pubmed (Oct 2009) 



Reading and the Brain


"Berns concluded, "At a minimum, we can say that reading stories—especially those with strong narrative arcs—reconfigures brain networks for at least a few days. It shows how stories can stay with us. This may have profound implications for children and the role of reading in shaping their brains."" - Psychology Today (Jan 2014)


"How does fiction get us to treat fake things as real?" - Psychology Today (Feb 2013)


"Subjects were asked to read leisurely at first, and then to make a shift towards more critical reading. In both instances, Philips noticed an increase in blood flow that exceeded "just work and play." In the case of more critical reading--the type you'd engage in while writing an essay or preparing for a test--blood flow increased beyond executive function regions, or those areas responsible for problem-solving." - Huffington Post (Sept 2012)  and  Standford News (Sept 2012)


"Your Brain on Fiction" - The New York Times (March 2012)


"As the researchers report today in the journal Neuron, brain imaging of children between the ages of 8 and 10 showed that the quality of white matter -- the brain tissue that carries signals between areas of grey matter, where information is processed -- improved substantially after the children received 100 hours of remedial training. After the training, imaging indicated that the capability of the white matter to transmit signals efficiently had increased, and testing showed the children could read better."  - Science Daily (Dec 2009)


"You can teach an old dog new tricks, say UCLA scientists who found that middle-aged and older adults with little Internet experience were able to trigger key centers in the brain that control decision-making and complex reasoning after just one week of surfing the Web." - Physorg.com (Oct 2009)


"A new brain-imaging study is shedding light on what it means to "get lost" in a good book — suggesting that readers create vivid mental simulations of the sounds, sights, tastes and movements described in a textual narrative while simultaneously activating brain regions used to process similar experiences in real life."  - Science Daily (Feb 2009)


"A new brain-imaging study is shedding light on what it means to "get lost" in a good book — suggesting that readers create vivid mental simulations of the sounds, sights, tastes and movements described in a textual narrative while simultaneously activating brain regions used to process similar experiences in real life." - Newswise (Jan 2009)





TV and the Brain



Brainwaves & TV - How Does TV Effect Brainwaves?


Brainwaves & TV - More Detail


Brainwaves & TV - Published Studies


"Watching too much television can change the structure of a child's brain in a damaging way, according to a new study. Researchers found that the more time a child spent viewing TV, the more profound the brain alterations appeared to be. The Japanese study looked at 276 children aged between five and 18, who watched between zero and four hours TV per day, with the average being about two hours. MRI brain scans showed children who spent the most hours in front of the box had greater amounts of grey matter in regions around the frontopolar cortex - the area at the front of the frontal lobe. But this increased volume was a negative thing as it was linked with lower verbal intelligence, said the authors, from Tohoku University in the city of Sendai. They suggested grey matter could be compared to body weight and said these brain areas need to be pruned during childhood in order to operate efficiently. ‘These areas show developmental cortical thinning during development, and children with superior IQs show the most vigorous cortical thinning in this area,’ the team wrote."  -    Daily Mail (Jan 2014)  and  Washington Post (Dec 2013)  and  Cerebral Cortex (Nov 2013)  and  Science News (Dec 2013)


"The cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants is in hot water from a study suggesting that watching just nine minutes of that program can cause short-term attention and learning problems in 4-year-olds." -  USA Today (Sept 2011)  and  Science Daily (Sept 2011)  and  Mail Online (Sept 2011)


"Middle-class 6-year-olds matched for sex, age, pretest WPPSI IQ, and TV-viewing time were blindly assigned to a restricted TV-viewing group or an unrestricted group. Restricted parents halved subjects' previous TV-viewing rates and interacted 20 min./day with subjects for a 6-week period. Unrestricted TV parents provided similar interactions but did not limit viewing. Results tentatively suggest that TV restriction enhanced Performance IQ, reading time, and reflective Matching Familiar Figures scores." - Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology (Winter 1980)


"Subsequent work by Malach and colleagues has found that, when we're engaged in intense "sensorimotor processing" - and nothing is more intense than staring at a massive screen with Dolby surround sound while wearing 3-D glasses - we actually inhibit these prefrontal areas. The scientists argue that such "inactivation" allows us to lose ourself in the movie" - Frontal Cortex (Jan 2010)


"There was greater frontal lobe activation in children when they were engaged in a picture book reading task with their mothers, as opposed to passive viewing of a videotape in which the story was read to them. Social and verbal engagement of the mother in reading picture books with her young child may mediate frontal brain activity in the child." -  Pubmed (Oct 2009) 


"Anyway, I started thinking about the difference between reading, in which you immerse yourself in another place, and film, in which you are immersed in another place. (You may notice a difference between "immersing yourself" and being "immersed.")"  - Psychology Today (Oct 2010)





Reading and Intelligence


"Those who read a short story had significantly lower scores on that test than those who read an essay. Specifically, they expressed less need for order and more comfort with ambiguity. This effect was particularly pronounced among those who reported being frequent readers of either fiction or non-fiction." -  Salon (June 2013) 


"Hospital staff make better decisions using textual information rather than medical charts" - BPS Research Digest Blog (2010)


"Does absurdist literature make you smarter? Giraffe carpet cleaner, it does!" - Alternet (Dec 2009)  and  Pacific Standard (Sept 2009)





TV and Intelligence



Intelligence & TV




Reading Crisis


"A new global study of educational systems in major nations ranks U.S. 15-year-olds 14th in the world in reading skills, 17th in science and 25th — below average — in math." - NPR (Dec 2010)


"Nearly two-thirds of students in Virginia and Maryland do not read proficiently by the time they finish third grade, a pivotal milestone when material becomes more complex and children are more likely to slip behind, according to a national report released Tuesday." - The Washington Post (May 2010)


"4th grade reading achievement levels (Percent) – 2011  -  At or above proficient 32%"  -  The Annie E. Casey Foundation - Data Center (2011)


"American High School Students Are Reading Books At 5th-Grade-Appropriate Levels" - Huffington Post (March 2012)


"Barely half of students are ready for college reading" - U.S. News & World Report (March 2006) 


"The decline and fall of American English, and stuff" - City Journal (Winter 2011)


"... in 1966-67, of the approximately 1.4 million students who took the verbal portion of the S.A.T. a score of 700 or higher was attained by more than 33,000 students. In 1986-87, over 1.8 million students took the test, and a score of 700 or higher was attained by fewer than 14,000." - The New York Times (Oct 1987)


"When the test was last administered, in 1992, 40 percent of the nation's college graduates scored at the proficient level, meaning that they were able to read lengthy, complex English texts and draw complicated inferences. But on the 2003 test, only 31 percent of the graduates demonstrated those high-level skills. There were 26.4 million college graduates." - The New York Times (Dec 2005) and The Washington Post (Dec 2005)


"Are Americans reading less?" - Steamboats (Dec 2007)










Post-Literate Society



Reading & Voting - From the study "To Read or Not To Read":   "It also found that the better a person's reading skills, the more likely that person voted in the 2000 election. The Education Department study showed 84 percent of proficient readers voted, compared with 62 percent of those with basic skills and 53 percent of those with poor skills."






Conclusion


My own conclusion is that reading for pleasure (including comic books and trashy novels) is much, much better than any kind of television, even educational TV.  Educational TV does impart more general knowledge than regular TV,  but once the TV is in the house, it's very hard to control (like a Trojan Horse). But for kids who are heavy TV watchers, and who aren't very interested in reading, Mr. Trelese's suggestion of turning off the volume, and turning on the closed captioning was excellent.


Note, this page was inspired by: The Power of Reading, Second Edition: Insights from the Research (2004)  and by this Google Answer: What are the advantages of reading books over watching TV?


I also believe that it is just as important for adults to read for pleasure as it is for kids. After all:


When the test was last administered, in 1992, 40 percent of the nation's college graduates scored at the proficient level, meaning that they were able to read lengthy, complex English texts and draw complicated inferences. But on the 2003 test, only 31 percent of the graduates demonstrated those high-level skills.


Only 31% of college graduates were proficient! This helps explain, I think, this shocking fact.


A big selling point with TV is that it is both entertaining and educational.  But after 50 years of research, it turns out that it isn't all that educational after all.  Reading for pleasure, on the other hand, turns out to be not just educational, but essential for learning the literacy skills necessary for life in the 21st century.


So the next time you come home exhausted after a long day at work, consider sitting down with a good trashy novel or comic and losing yourself in the story line (with no commercials !)  Your brain will get an enjoyable work-out and if you have children at home, they'll learn that reading can be fun and rewarding (from their most important role-model).


If the riches of the Indies, or the crowns of all the kingdom of Europe, were

laid at my feet in exchange for my love of reading, I would spurn them all.

- Francois FeNelon






The Importance of Reading


"Want to Live Longer? Be Wealthier? And Happier? Here is the One PROVEN Secret: Reading!" -  Sixwise.com


"Those Who Read Fiction Better at Reading People" - Sixwise.com


"5 science-backed ways reading makes you healthier" -   Raw Story (August 2014)


"The researchers found that earlier differences in reading between the twins were linked to later differences in intelligence. Reading was associated not only with measures of verbal intelligence (such as vocabulary tests) but with measures of nonverbal intelligence as well (such as reasoning tests). The differences in reading that were linked to differences in later intelligence were present by age 7, which may indicate that even early reading skills affect intellectual development." -   Eurekalert (July 2014)


"Brain function 'boosted for days after reading a novel" -   The Independent (Dec 2013)


"7 Unconventional Reasons Why You Absolutely Should Be Reading Books" -   Huffington Post (Oct 2013)


"That’s the conclusion of a new study, which finds that, compared with mainstream fiction, high-brow literary works do more to improve our ability to understand the thoughts, emotions, and motivations of those around us." -  Huffington Post (Oct 2013)  and  NPR (Oct 2013)  and  Science (Oct 2013)  and  PubMed (Oct 2013)


"Bowman’s study examined parents’ use of what’s called bibliotherapy – using books as interventions for children who experience social struggles that may arise from disabilities such as autism or Down Syndrome. " -   University of Cincinnati (August 2013)


"Patients with more severe depression show at least as good clinical benefit from ‘low-intensity’ interventions, such as self help books and websites, as less severely ill patients, suggests a paper published on bmj.com today." -   TheBMJ (Feb 2013)


"Prompted by a theory that Raymond Mar and I published in 2008 in which we argued that empathy is increased by reading fiction, Dan Johnson (2012), of Washington and Lee University, conducted two studies in which he confirmed this theory, and made an important addition." - Psychology Today (Nov 2011)


"While previous treatments—painkillers, physiotherapy, acupuncture, hyperbaric oxygen therapy—have failed, the self-prescribed reading cure works." - Daily Good (Oct 2010)


"Those who read Chekhov's story changed significantly more in their personality traits and emotions than those who read the non-fiction-style courtroom report. The changes in personality were small but measurable, and they were mediated by their emotions: the more emotion people felt when reading, the larger the change in personality." - Psychology Today Blog (Sept 2010)


"What Would Jane Do? How a 19th-century spinster serves as a moral compass in today's world" - The Wall Street Journal (Nov 2009)


"By imagining many possible worlds, argues novelist and psychologist Keith Oat­ley, fiction helps us understand ourselves and others." - Sharp Brains (Sept 2009)


"Reading is the best way to relax and even six minutes can be enough to reduce the stress levels by more than two thirds, according to new research." -  Telegraph (March 2009) 


"Socially awkward? Hit the books" -  The Globe and Mail (July 2008)


"The therapeutic value of blogging becomes a focus of study" - Scientific American (May 2008)


"... when it comes to preventing depression in teenagers, a self-help book might actually be more effective." - BP Research Digest (April 2007)


"Plans to prescribe self-help books to people with mental health problems throughout Wales have been cautiously welcomed by patients' groups." -  BBC (July 2005) 


Some Books Have Negative Effects


"New research suggests novels in which characters agonize about their bodies lead female readers to do the same" -  Salon (Jan 2013)