The case against television

Think About It

July 28, 1999

Author Jim Trelease writes in "The Read-Aloud Handbook" that when television is weighed against reading, it fails every time. He says the tube is not a "positive educator." Among his reasons:

* Television is the direct opposite of reading because its short segments (eight minutes each) foster a short attention span.

* For young children, TV is an antisocial experience -- a child ignores everything around him while watching. But reading aloud requires an adult companion.

* Television deprives the child of his most important learning tool: questions.

* Television interrupts the child's most important language lessons: family conversation.

* Television, especially commercials, encourages deceptive thinking because it implies that there is no problem that cannot be solved by simple, artificial means.

* Television helps build vocabulary for younger children, but that benefit ceases by age 10.

* Television stifles the imagination.

* And finally, television overpowers and desensitizes a child's sense of sympathy for suffering.

Pub Date: 07/28/99

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