Thursday, May 6, 2010

Where to start? Reading or Computers?

As we prepare to raise our children in a world that was much different than our own upbringing we will have to ponder many important decisions. Just one of those questions will be what is more important for my child to learn and be proficient at, reading or technology? Some parents may think that you can combine the two now with the computerized books and all but I think reading the old fashion way, with a real book that does not contain a computer chip is still the way to start. There are places where computerized books are beneficial but I think every child should have real books in their lives.

There are many sides to this argument and I am not here to tell you which is the best choice for your family. I am just going to tell you my opinion that has been established raising my own child. I know the whole world now revolves around technology but I still believe that reading should be a very important part of any person’s life, regardless of age. As a child I would read to exercise my imagination, my parents would know that I was also exercising my brain and learning things but that was not important to me. What I cared about were the places I could go and the things I could be. I had and still have many friends that never developed that love of reading. I still find that sad for them. They never knew the joys of escaping the drudgery of your every day life and do anything you want. Want to be an astronaut, a lion tamer or a cowboy? All it takes is opening the pages of a book. Want to climb a mountain, lasso a horse or rule over your castle as a Queen? All it takes is opening th epages of a book. I am not saying that computers do not have a place in your child’s life. All children should learn about technology and be proficient at it, but they first need to explore the things in their lives that they can only get with reading. Reading will always be a vital part of their life.

Take the time to read a book to your child and let them see you enjoying a book. It will be a lesson that they can take with them forever. As a small child, try to limit their technology time with computers, TV’s and video games and encourage their love of reading. If you go to your public library the librarians will be happy to provide you with listings of books that are encouraged by ages. If your library does not offer this service, you can go the website for Lexington Public Libraryand they will have book lists with accompanying games to go with them.

Dolly Parton began a program in 1996 called Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Ms. Parton started this program in her home of Sevier County, TN. The premise of the program is that each child under five will receive a brand new age appropriate book each month from birth until age five. The first book is always the classic “The Little Engine That Could” and the last book is always “Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come”. As word spread of the program other communities wanted the same service offered to their youth. The program has now grown and many, many communities are included in the program. If your community is involved, you can register your child that is under 5 to also receive free books each month, regardless of the families income.

Enjoy a good book with your child tonight and please post a comment with your opinion of technology vs. reading.

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