New study shows benefits of reading to children over video chat
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray
Go throw your TV set away
And in its place you can install
a lovely bookshelf on the wall.
— Roald Dahl in his classic children’s book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Though published in 1964, Dahl’s words continue to reflect the attitudes and concerns of parents when it comes to balancing how much time children spend looking at books compared to a screen. Parents have grown accustomed to reports on the news of yet another academic study that heralds the benefits of books while warning against excessive screen time.
However, as the world has come to learn these past few months, pandemics make for strange bedfellows. More than ever, families are embracing some combination of books and screens during virtual story times, often with teachers, grandparents, or other caring adults reading to young children whom they can no longer see in person.