A response to read

Response to a Debate: How Much Should a Child (or a person) Read?


In response to a recent a debate between myself and the primary receiver of this summary I gathered the requested evidence to help support my claim that a child should ‘spend the same amount of time or more reading as they do with un-natural visually-stimulating devices’ such as iPad’s, video game consoles, television, movies, tablets, or any other electronic device that presents a similar form of visual entertainment.

Below you will find quotes from 3 separate scholarly articles dealing with the affects of screen stimulus, affects of reading, and superior influence respectively. I have neglected to put any of my own opinion or even words below the introduction; as you will see, I have only provided quotes from 3 articles.


*Please note that every line that is encapsulated with “” and/or has (name, year) is a line that was written by a highly educated individual or individual’s that conducted studies and published their work through a process of gatekeeping called peer review, which is a type of filter to help maintain a high integrity of the information published. In short, the lines below are not from the author of this summary.


Affects of video games

(Gentile, 2012)

“Those who spend more time playing video games subsequently have more attention problems, even when earlier attention problems, sex, age, race, and socioeconomic status are statistically controlled. Violent content may have a unique effect on attention problems and impulsiveness, but total time spent with video games appears to be a more consistent predictor. Individuals who are more impulsive or have more attention problems subsequently spend more time playing video games, even when initial video game playing is statistically controlled, suggesting bidirectional causality between video game playing and attention problems/ impulsiveness.”

“Some recent evidence suggests that exposure to screen media may increase attention problems.”

“Most of the research to date has focused on television (TV) as a potential contributor to attention problems.”

“Research examining video games has found similar associations with attention problems.”

“There are at least four possible explanations for the association between electronic media and greater attention problems. “

“Over time, frequently engaging in exciting activities (e.g., playing video games) might change a child’s expectations regarding the desired level of stimulation. The greater the contrast between electronic media content and work or school tasks, the more difficult it could become to focus on work or school.”

“Time spent with TV or video games might simply displace time that would have otherwise been spent on other activities that would have al- lowed for greater development of impulse control.”

“Specifically, to the extent that electronic media use does not tax self- control resources, time spent with such media may weaken ones’ ability to exert self-control.”

“Total time spent with electronic media should predict greater attention problems but the content of that media should not make a difference.”

“However, the difference between violent and nonviolent TV content was not statistically significant.”

“Children with greater impulsiveness and attention problems spend more time playing video games, which in turn increases subsequent attention problems and impulsiveness.”

“Furthermore, many problems with genetic bases are clearly enhanced by environ- mental triggers. By understanding some of the environmental influences, we can develop more effective solutions for children and parents. More research is clearly needed on the environ- mental factors, especially factors that are easily modified by parents, such as screen time.

Affects of reading

(Mol, 2011)

“Children who are more proficient in comprehension and technical reading and spelling skills read more; because of more print exposure, their comprehension and technical reading and spelling skills improved more with each year of education.”

“Moderate associations of print exposure with academic achievement indicate that frequent readers are more successful students.”

“Interestingly, poor readers also appear to benefit from independent leisure time reading.”

“We conclude that shared book reading to preconventional readers may be part of a continuum of out-of-school reading experiences that facilitate children’s language, reading, and spelling achievement throughout their development.”

“Establishing a book reading routine before the age of 2 is thought to provide children with a variety of rich linguistic input that stimulates their language development and lays the basis for continued, frequent print exposure.”

“Book reading is often seen as one of the most important activities for developing the knowledge required for eventual success in reading.”

“Furthermore, starting to share books early is likely to optimize the quality of reading in the long term, as frequent reading interactions may have the capacity to extend parents’ knowledge of and sensitivity toward their children’s linguistic and cognitive competencies.”

“There is a general belief in society that frequent exposure to print has a long-lasting impact on academic success, as if practicing reading is the miracle drug for the prevention and treatment of reading problems (for reviews, see Dickinson & McCabe, 2001; Phillips, Norris, & Anderson, 2008). This comprehensive meta- analysis of print exposure provides some scientific support for this belief.”

“The meta-analyses suggest that reading routines, which are part of the child’s leisure time activities, offer substantial advantages for oral language growth. Interestingly, independent reading of books also enables readers to store specific word form knowledge and become better spellers.”

“Finally, college and university students who read for pleasure may also be more successful academically.”

“Our findings suggest that the relation between print exposure and reading components is reciprocal, as the intensity of print exposure also depends on students’ reading proficiency. Print exposure becomes more important for reading components with growing age, in particular for oral language and word recognition. Apparently, children who have developed a reading routine will acquire increasingly more word meanings and word forms from books, which further facilitates their reading development and their willingness to read for pleasure.”

“Such a spiral also implies that readers who lag behind in comprehension or technical reading and spelling skills are especially at risk of developing serious reading problems because they are less inclined to read during leisure time (Stanovich, 1986). With less print exposure, low- ability readers are unlikely to improve their reading and spelling skills to the same extent as their peers who do choose to read. Thus, the reading gap widens, and the Matthew effect becomes ever more forceful. Preventing such a downward spiral for poor readers may be among the major challenges of contemporary reading research. We must find ways to motivate these students and their parents to read more as a leisure time activity. In this respect one of our most promising findings is that poor readers’ basic reading skills profit most from reading books in their leisure time.”

Superior influence

(Phillips, 2008)

“Parents are encouraged to read to their children, and they frequently engage in shared book reading on the belief that the experience will foster their children’s literacy development.”

“Shared book reading often does not advance children’s early literacy development. However, the authors point to research showing that when shared book reading is enriched with explicit attention to the development of children’s reading skills and strategies, then shared book reading is an effective vehicle for promoting the early literacy ability even of disadvantaged children.”

“Children do not learn print concepts simply by having a parent or other adult read to them.”

“But that there are shared-reading practices that can enhance children’s emergent literacy development.”

“Is the “Read to Them” mantra fair to families looking for advice and guidance on how best to help their children to read? We think not.”

“It is critically important at this juncture to reiterate that we acknowledge and endorse many of the very fine attributes of shared reading despite the overwhelming evidence that parents do not draw attention to the print when reading with their children and, consequently, do not teach them specific reading skills and strategies requisite for reading. It is well documented that shared reading supports oral language and non-language development”

“Engaging children with the explicit purpose of expanding their knowledge is essential for cognitive, literacy, and numeracy development.”

“The passive exposure and frequent opportunities to play with objects, which may include letters, shapes, and numbers, will not enhance children’s development of alphabetic and numeric concepts. Rather, it is essential for parents/caregivers actively to name letters, to make their sounds, to spell the child’s name, to name the shapes, to name numerals, and to teach their children songs and nursery rhymes”

“Children’s emergent literacy development is constrained and enhanced by the ways in which families use print”

“Even if children’s homes are rich in oral language and rich in story reading, they may have difficulty acquiring literacy and may not develop knowledge of written registers.”

“The major shortcoming is that shared-book reading by itself, although potentially interesting for children and facilitative of their oral language development, does not foster emergent literacy development.”





Gentile, D. A., Swing, E. L., Lim, C. G., & Khoo, A. (2012). Video game playing,     attention problems, and impulsiveness: Evidence of bidirectional causality. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 1(1), 62-70. doi:10.1037/a0026969

Mol, S. E., & Bus, A. G. (2011). To read or not to read: A meta-analysis of print             exposure from infancy to early adulthood. Psychological Bulletin, 137(2), 267- 296. doi:10.1037/a0021890

Phillips, L. M., Norris, S. P., & Anderson, J. (2008). Unlocking the door: Is parents’ reading to children the key to early literacy development? Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 49(2), 82-88. doi:10.1037/0708-  5591.49.2.82



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