Does TV Shut Out Reading?

child mesmerized, watching tvWith school starting back, now is a great time to kick bad habits and start the school year with new and enriching ones.

One way to start the school year on a better foot is to limit your children’s TV time. That’s probably not something they want to hear, but research shows it’s in their best interest!

Most kids plug into the world of television long before they are old enough for school. I read in a recent EdNews article that the average pre-schooler watches 4.5 hours of television a day, and the average 6-11 year old is right behind them with 4 hours of TV-time a day. Wow!

The Negative Impact of Television on Children

Research says that very young children who live in homes where the television is on most of the time may have more trouble learning how to read than other kids their age, according to a study of media habits of children up to 6 years old. The report by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Children’s Digital Media Centers indicated that 34 percent of children ages 4-6 living in “heavy TV households” can read, compared with 56 percent of those in homes where the TV is on less often.

Television can also affect reading performance for older children who can read. Studies have shown that even having the television on “in the background” negatively affects children’s reading comprehension and memory. It’s definitely not a good idea to have the TV on during study or homework hours!

The research goes on and on, so there’s no doubt that limiting your children’s TV time is a good idea. But that’s not to say you need to cut it out completely. TV in moderation can be a good thing. Check out this article for ideas about the right kind of TV to plug into.

For information on helping struggling readers, contact us at or 1-919-747-4557 or visit our website to learn more.

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Sandie Barrie Blackley, MA/CCC

MA/CCC - Cofounder and CKO

Sandie is a speech-language pathologist with more than 30 years of experience in the private practice sector. She is Visiting Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences & Disorders at University of North Carolina Greensboro, and founder/owner of the Language & Learning Clinic, PLLC, a private practice in Elkin, NC, and Greensboro, NC, specializing in communication disorders, including disorders of reading and written language.