Reading Books v. Watching Screens | Modern Mummy

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Reading Books v. Watching Screens

I'm terribly old fashioned when it comes to the great book versus screen debate.

As far as I'm concerned, nothing will ever come close to a book. Not ever! As a grown up, reading books, to me, equals me time and relaxation. Fiction is a means of escape and I love nothing more than flicking through the pages of a novel whilst wallowing in the bath or lying on a beach. There is no way a Kindle could ever compare. I love the feel of turning the pages by hand, and the look of my overflowing bookshelves too much.

As a child I was a complete bookworm. I visited the library every week without fail and read every day. Stories, poetry, fact books, you name it. Fiction was my favourite - I would get lost in the words and the illustrations would make my imagination run riot. Computer games were popular in the 80s but I just wasn't interested - and despite all the technological advances ever since, they still don't do anything for me.

I'm so glad that Daisy has inherited my passion for books because I believe that reading, for fun at home, is vital to a child's education. A child that enjoys reading is a child that wants to learn. 

As much as I enjoy my fair share of TV, given the choice, books would win hands down every time. That's not to say that TV can't play a part in a child's education too. Some television programmes on at the moment are fantastic; both kiddie ones and ones for grown ups. Daisy never ceases to amaze me with the things she remembers from the programmes she watches. She adores wildlife programmes and others specifically for children, like Alphablocks and Mister Maker. I have no problem with her watching these programmes as they are teaching her facts and language and also inspiring her to be creative. I'm not saying the TV is under lock and key in our house, far from it. If my children want to watch telly they can. Us mama's all use CBeebies as a babysitter sometimes and I'm not afraid to admit to it! So long as a child isn't sat in front of the telly all day, every day, then that's ok with me.

But books are something else altogether. I still adore getting stuck into a good novel (not that it happens very often!). More often than not, TV adaptations or films made from a book leave me bitterly disappointed and I much prefer the characters and buildings as I picture them whilst reading. I'm sure the same goes for children too. Books are a great basis for education; they stimulate the mind and encourage the imagination. They help with language and grammar. The latter I think is SO important. At the risk of sounding like my Mum, I am constantly horrified by the youth of today's complete lack of grammar (but that's a whole other blog post).

A book at bedtime is a great way to wind down - and, in our house, this is family time. Every night we choose a story, read it together, talk about it and then its time to go to sleep. I loved those moments as a child and I love them now, as a mother. So although I do watch the television, and as a family we enjoy movie nights together, books would win the debate every time.

By way of conclusion to this post, I asked my three year old whether she prefers reading a book or watching television. She said reading. When asked why she answered 'because I like reading books with you and Daddy and I like the pictures and I like talking about them'. So there you have it!

This post was written after a prompt from The Works, who are hopeful that the printed book will survive the digital revolution. They say, 'Reading doesn’t provide ready-made answers; it leaves room for imagination and extended periods of focus. This is increasingly important in today’s multi-media world, in which the over-abundance of information can be heavily distracting.' I couldn't agree more.



  1. I love reading but since having my little girl 3 months ago I find I don't have the time or concentration to read as much as I would like. I am trying to pick it up again and have been sent a great book to review which I am really enjoying and really making the effort to read. At the end of a busy day it is nice to stick on the TV and watch some mind numbing, thoughtless TV!


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