Reading and literacy skills do not occur in isolation. Part of developing literacy skills is interacting with people and the world around you. Television is a very influential part of our culture and can play a dominant role in the lives of many children. By viewing positive educational television, children will enhance their literacy skills.
Follow these simple steps:
- View a children’s show with your child that introduces and explores a topic. TV is a tool – and what children get from it will depend on how well it’s designed and how well children are guided to use it. Watching television should not make your job harder as a parent or caregiver! Know what your children are watching. What do they learn from these shows? Talk to them about the shows that they watch. Not knowing what your children are watching is just like inviting a stranger into your home. Balance how much time your children watch television. Limit viewing to 10 hours a week or less, making sure that children can choose from plenty of other fun activities. Use this time to interact with your child with talk, talk and more talk.
- Read a related book that reinforces literacy or other learning skills. Find and read books that you can link to characters, themes or topics from TV. If your child loves Arthur, go to the library and get some Arthur books. Have your child draw a picture of Arthur and his friends and then ask him to tell you a story. Here’s another example. Your child just saw something about rainbows and can’t stop talking about it. Get a book full of rainbows, or sit down and draw a rainbow, stripe by stripe, stressing the color and the number of the stripes and MORE.
- Do something fun and active that extends the learning and helps children practice self-expression and listening skills. The opportunities are endless. Many of the popular children’s shows will provide you with follow-up activities. Be an active parent and use television to your advantage.
*The View-Read-Do Model is an educationally sound strategy for families to use television that is recommended by the PBS Ready to Learn Department.