Turn off the TV and read a book instead

Published 10:58 am Saturday, June 28, 2014

It’s summer time, and the living is supposed to be easy. While that may be more true for some people more than others, it’s still a critical time for children regardless of the parent’s stress-level.

Looking back to when we were children, especially many of the men here, it was all too easy to spend most of our days outside running around and getting in trouble. And then spend the mornings sleeping in and the evenings playing video games or watching TV. And then of course, there is the joy of going on vacation to perhaps the beach or a theme park.

The trouble with only focusing on those activities is that the children are not being challenged intellectually. While running around all day can be good exercise. It, along with a healthy diet of TV, is not stimulating the brain as much as it would be for the child if he or she were still in school and learning. That’s where your local library can come in handy.

Studies have shown that over time, a child who does not read over the summer will fall a full grade level behind if he or she does not read over the summer. And in the short term, it means that teachers have to start off the year playing catch up, which can put the whole class behind when it comes to preparing for the materials they should be preparing for that grade-level. That can in turn put the class behind in the all-important reading SOL test, where some area schools are already behind.

Your branch of the Blackwater Regional Library System has a summer reading program, and it can be both fun and mentally stimulating at the same time.

But if you can’t make it to any of the events, at least take time this summer to read to your children or help your children read. If you don’t have access to age-level books, the library can also help you there.

And if your children are all grown up or you don’t have any, but you like reading and want to promote it to the younger generation, why not volunteer if you have the time?

While it is important to get exercise and have some fun, don’t forget about developing the brain, too. In this global economy, where other nations are not letting their children take a break, we can’t afford to let ours fall further behind.