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Just For Fun

What Your Kids See You Read

George Washington Crossing The Delaware

I’ve read articles before (someone can provide links in the comments) about how important it is to have books around the house and to set an example for your kids by making sure they see you reading. But I’ve always looked at that as a general idea–just make sure they see that you read, and the magic will happen later on. Last night I got my first glimpse of how it can affect them in ways I hadn’t considered.

I’m currently reading To Try Men’s Souls, which is a historical novel about George Washington and the Continental Army’s crossing of the Delaware on Christmas night, 1776. The cover of the book features the famous painting by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze. Yesterday afternoon, Pea was looking at the cover and asked, “Who’s that?”. I told her it was a painting of George Washington crossing a river in a boat, and the book is a story about him going across the river. She’s familiar with George Washington because she’s seen another painting of him when going over the Presidents of the United States with Ana. She immediately said, “Look Mami! Daddy’s reading a book about George Washington! He’s one of the Presidents in my pictures!” She looked through the pages for a little while before putting the book down. I assume she was looking for more pictures–that’s what I did when I was little. It didn’t take long for her to get bored and go play with something else.

We read books together before bed every night, then Pea climbs up to her top bunk and looks at books in her bed before she goes to sleep while I hang out on the bottom bunk and read. Last night, as she was looking at her books and going to sleep she whispered down to me, “Daddy, are you looking at the book about George Washington in the boat?”

Cool! She just made a connection between two paintings she’s seen at different times and something the person in those painting did, and it’s stuck in her memory! She also understands the that I’m reading the story (learning) about what happened from the book. Hopefully this will lead to more questions about George Washington in the future. Maybe she’ll even ask me to tell her the story.

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Bright Ideas In The News

Cutting Back on Screen Time

From today’s Tennessean, Dr. Frank Boehm calls for replacing t.v. time with book time:

If we began to encourage our children to replace screen time with reading books, they would be more able to counter ignorance in themselves and others by being able to enter conversa­tions with real facts rather than sound bites from television programs and the Internet.

I won’t pretend our kids don’t watch any television. They do. But we’ve found it easier to limit their tube time by getting rid of cable and only using a Roku player to stream Netflix. This allows us to limit what they see to very specific programs and zero commercials. An added benefit of using only a streaming player is that when a show ends, it’s over. There aren’t any “Coming up next…” announcements. Pea usually gets up and turns the television off when her show ends, saying, “We don’t watch t.v. all day.”

It’s been good for us (the parents) as well. We watch considerably less television now. Gone are the days of flipping through channels looking for something to watch. The only time the television is on at our house is when we sit down to watch a specific movie or an episode or two of a television program we’re streaming after the kids’ bed time. If you thought DVD was the best way to watch a series, you should try streaming it!

Again, no commercials, and we spend a lot more time reading and talking than we do staring at a screen.

We’re also saving a ton of money. For the cost of one month of cable we were able to buy the streamer to connect to the television, and Netflix is less than $10 per month. Cutting cable completely may not work for every family, especially if you like to watch sports live, but we love it!

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