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November 08, 2019 2 min read

You may have heard about the latest findings of the 2019 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation’s Report Card. According to the U.S. News and Report, while math and reading scores for fourth and eighth graders have both dropped since 2017, the drop in reading levels was more significant (read the full article at https://www.usnews.com/news/education-news/articles/2019-10-30/across-the-board-scores-drop-in-math-and-reading-for-us-students).  Although researchers can’t say for sure what has caused this decline, how much has technology played a part in it?  How often are kids actually spending time reading? How much of their literacy experiences are coming from online reading programs versus more authentic, hands-on activities?  

Children learn best when they are engaged in meaningful, fun and interactive activities, preferably with other people like their parents.  More importantly, this type of learning helps them develop a love of reading and writing which will motivate them to engage in more reading and writing. The more time they spend reading and writing, the better they become at it.  

This is not to say that the use of technology is outright bad or shouldn’t be a part of children’s educational experiences. However, it should be used in moderation and it should not be a replacement for genuine literary interactions.  Online reading programs and games are more effective if they are used as supplements to a child’s everyday literacy routine rather than a time filler so that parents can get more accomplished themselves. Nothing can replace the value and bonding that comes from spending time with your child reading or playing games that teach reading and writing.

In order to get an accurate assessment of just how much time your child spends on electronics versus authentic activities, we challenge you to keep a “Technology Log” for a week.  Every day, record the amount of time your child(ren) use any form of electronics and the amount of time they engage in reading and writing activities, such as reading a book or playing a game.  You might be surprised by the results and it may help you determine an electronic "budget" that you can follow. This will allow you to strike a balanced approach to literacy that includes fun games and activities as well as the use of technology. 

Any questions?  Please email us at Janice@Neighborhoodlit.com.  Taylor Burke is a teacher and Director of Communications at Neighborhood Lit. and works closely with Janice Migliazza, a Reading Specialist and owner of Neighborhood Lit, Route 34, Colts Neck to bring you this information.

(Image by Barbara Jackson from Pixabay)