We Need to Swap DVD’s for Educational Games Involving Conversation

Opinion / August 6, 2010

The results of this year’s SAT’s show the reading ability of children at primary school level is still declining overall. Apart from issues within the school and the “Teaching to Test” syndrome a further key influence is the reluctance of parents towards reading stories and engaging in conversation with children. Their English language skills are also being threatened by video games –especially on long car journeys.

The hugely beneficial role of parents in the schooling process is still largely untapped. One of the key issues we seem to miss as parents is the significant benefit of reading and talking to children.  Children gain an insight to their imagination and language skills by listening to adults. Reading books is way down the preference list for many children. There many educational reading games to help – even with reluctant readers, but we need to take heed of advice that we may have used technology as both a boon and a hindrance to learning.  Unfortunately most of us are guilty of taking the easy option to occupy children at home and on long journeys by getting children to play video games or watch DVD’s.  The new warning states that playing video games or watching DVD’s during car journeys can reduce a child’s language skills.

It’s quite a temptation to occupy children on long car journeys by resorting to DVDs rather conversational games. As a result I-Spy has been kicked into touch by seat back videos and Nintendo games.  Jean Gross, England’s Communications Chief said “Children develop in class close contact with adults.  This is your chance to double their vocabulary,” Being stuck in traffic contest any relationship and inventive game can while away the time profiteering profitably. To while away the journey we need to play more interactive travel games with toddlers and children.

Children of wealthy parents, generally with access to expensive technology, can have problems in learning to speak as much as children from poorer families starved of conversation. Being unable to express themselves they suffer considerable frustration from not being able to describe their feelings adequately.  This often leads to impaired conversational skills and English literacy.

There are many travel games that are observational or conversational.  Others use educational games to practice a particular theme in English, maths and science.  They all have a rewarding outcome, not just winning the game or passing time on a journey, but in helping to develop learning and language skills.

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