I have found that when you have a child struggling with something….academic, health, behavior, etc….it’s tempting to turn to the internet to look for a quick fix.
In March the New York Times had a short article about dyslexia, Video Games may Aid Children with Dyslexia.
Students trained (?!?) in action video games showed that they had improved reading scores. WOW! Time to get to Target and load up on all those Wii games I say N-O to. That’s it? I can just shove my boys in front of the Wii with ACTION (non-action games didn’t have as dramatic of an effect) games and they will read well? Done and done.
But wait, the last paragraph of the article is this:
“The correlation between attention improvement and reading improvement was very high,” said the co-first author of the study, Simone Gori, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Padua. “The change in attentional abilities translates into better reading ability.”
Wait, is this news? Of course your reading will be better if your attention is better, isn’t that the trick I wrote about yesterday?
I would argue that instead of plopping your child in front of a video game and hoping that they become a better reader (they won’t), they go outside and exercise to increase attention. Shouldn’t the goal be healthy children who are confident about their reading skills and engaged in learning….instead of children nagging about needing to play more video games and THEN they will do their homework.
The New York Times has published many articles about the benefits of exercise, even while Phy Ed. and recess time are being cut. In the last paragraph of Can Exercise Make Kids Smarter by Gretchen Reynolds she writes:
“But for now, the takeaway is clear. “More aerobic exercise” for young people, Mr. Kuhn said. Mr. Hillman agreed. So get kids moving, he added, and preferably away from their Wiis. A still-unpublished study from his lab compared the cognitive impact in young people of 20 minutes of running on a treadmill with 20 minutes of playing sports-style video games at a similar intensity. Running improved test scores immediately afterward. Playing video games did not.”
Get outside and play!