When Screen Time Encourages Reading Time

Be on the lookout for ways to turn screen-time back to book-time.
By Amy Kraft




I first noticed this phenomenon when my daughter was very young, maybe two or three. Much of her TV time was occupied with the Scholastic Video Collection. We had been watching the collection with Tomi Ungerer’s The Three Robbers. Then, when we visited a little bookstore in Vermont while on vacation, there was The Three Robbers in a prominent display in the middle of the children’s section. She just about went out of her mind that it existed as a book, and we had to buy it immediately. We went on to buy other books of our favorite videos, especially I Stink and Arnie the Doughnut. We like to imitate the video’s voices still when doing these as read-alouds.

Cut to my daughter’s screen time now, which mostly involves a self-guided tour of Netflix. She’s discovered an Australian show called The Saddle Club and is now obsessed with these girls and their horses. I did a little digging to learn more about the show, and . . . aha! The show is based on a book series by Bonnie Bryant! We tracked down a couple of copies online and my daughter couldn’t wait to get her hands on them. She devoured them the instant they arrived.

I’m just starting to notice the same thing work on my two-year-old. Our iPad is loaded up with a bunch of eBooks that he navigates independently.  He loves the book Trucks by Byron Barton, so I bought him the app version as well. I’ve noticed that the app has been in heavy rotation this week, and so too has the book been in heavy rotation at bedtime.

I’m generally a fan of screen time, and believe that my kids extract great value from their time in front of screens, but I’m also determined to raise voracious readers, and this is an easy way to get them excited about particular books. 

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