Monday, November 15, 2010

The View From My Writing Room

Today I’d like to address the subjects of books for boys, along with the distractions of media that kids face today. I have to admit that I’m glad our children grew up just ahead of a time when there was a TV and computer in every bedroom, a phone in every pocket, and all the other electronic distractions that pull them away from each other, and from reading good books.

Not a week goes by that I don’t see articles, emails, or Internet posts asking for more quality books for boys. Parents and teachers are somewhat desperate to get boys reading, and away from the computer, video games, and TV, because they know how important reading is. Several studies have indicated that there are certain connections made in the brain that only occur while reading.

I began writing action-adventures ∧ mysteries, nearly ten years ago, because I grew up hating to read. I believe that I understand the struggling, reluctant reader well enough to craft the kinds of stories that will capture and hold their attention. Thirty-six have been written. By the end of next year, many of those books will be published.

Reading forces the reader to use his or her imagination.

Reading allows the reader to decide what things sound like, look like, smell like, and taste like.

Reading blocks out all other distractions.

Reading creates a special bond between the reader and the characters in books.

Technology is wonderful, however, several forms of technology provide all of the sights, sounds, and music that are carefully designed to determine how the viewer or user should think, feel, and react.

Technology does not foster critical thinking like reading.

Technology has its uses – no doubt – but it can never replace the importance of reading.

A recent article reported that kids spend more than 7.5 hours a day with media – TV, iPods and the Internet – plus another two hours on their cell phones and texting. Heavy media users had lower grades and weren’t as happy.

It may be time for parents to step in and begin limiting media use. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests no more than two hours of media per day. And be especially careful about TVs and computers in a child’s bedroom, where it becomes more difficult to keep track of the hours devoted to media. It’s a better idea to make sure a television or computer be used in more general purpose rooms where there can be better supervision.

After you hear the inevitable, “I’m bored,” suggest reading a book. You can even set up a reward system where, after so many hours or chapters, then there can be X number of media hours.

When I speak to kids in schools, I like to end my talk by saying, “Remember, readers are the leaders, others follow.”

Max Elliot Anderson
Author Web Site  


Ruth said...

I fully agree. Technology--as wonderful as it is--never replaces reading. I am a teacher, and I feel that this message is often not pushed even schools.

max said...

Thank you. It's great to get a teacher's perspective on this subject. Our daughter teaches 2nd grade, and we've had some interesting discussions concerning reading and her students.