Thursday, August 26, 2010

Television VS Reading by Max Elliott Anderson

Recently I heard a speaker who talked about the negative effects of television viewing on our children. My father used to call it the idiot box, but this speaker went a step further by calling it hellevision.

Here's why.

He said that the average child in America today, watches between 5 and 7 hours of TV every...single... day!

If you tried to do that, just for a couple of days, you'd be shocked at the content. And when you realized what your children were watching, hour after hour, you’d do something about it. These same children spend only minutes a day interacting with their parents. The balance of their time is spent on video games, computers, cell phones, homework, and if they have to...reading.

Coming This Fall
I’ve set out to try to change that, by writing the kinds of action-adventures and mysteries that readers, 8 and up, would enjoy. Even though I speak of them as books for boys, they are still equally enjoyed by girls. Many report that reading one of my books is like
being in an exciting or scary movie.

Released August 1
If you doubt the positive effects you will see, in your own home, by turning off the TV and giving your children exciting books to read, let me relate a true story in an attempt to change your mind. And if there is a TV in your child’s bedroom today, I hope you’ll be encouraged to remove it.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak to a group of children in the Cabrini Green housing project in Chicago. These kids need all the help they can get, in order to break out of the cycle of poverty all around. I told them about this same true story.

GIFTED HANDS: This is a true story of a child who felt he was the dumbest student in his fifth grade class. Through the demands of his single, working mother, who didn’t know how to read, he learned the value of the public library and learned to read. He discovered that he enjoyed learning.

Benjamin Carson, M.D started out on the mean Detroit streets. His mother knew he had it in him to get out of the Detroit ghetto where they lived. She believed he could make something of himself. His mother demanded that Ben, and his older brother, turn off the TV and begin bringing home books from the library. Their TV viewing was cut to one hour per week. Can you imagine? Even though she could not read herself, Ben’s mother required her sons to read their books and write book reports which they had to read to her out loud.

But Ben's beginnings were certainly not easy. Signs of determination showed as young as the age of 10. He started out as the "class dummy" in school, frequently getting every single question on his math tests wrong. But then, through hard work and a lot of reading from the local library, he expanded his knowledge in every subject. Soon, "good" wasn't good enough. Ben was driven to be the best. In fact, he was so driven that he won a full scholarship to Yale University.

Ben Carson ought to be regarded as a role model for today. Those not on the right path to a successful future could especially benefit; as a story like this could assist in a serious straightening out of priorities.

He is an inspiration to all because the life he began with wasn't as easy as many other families who have attended good colleges for generations. Ben, and his older brother Curtis, were the first in the family to ever attend college. Curtis went to the University of Michigan, and Ben enrolled at Yale University.

In the last chapter, Carson gives recommendations to students on ways to live and to achieve.

* You can also look for the feature film on DVD wherever you get your videos. I would encourage you to rent it, sit down with your children, and watch it together. You might even go a step further by watching it yourself first. Then write out a few questions. Turning off the TV in your own home, and requiring more reading, could be the difference in your child’s success or failure in the future.

Expect a lot of yelling at first. But in the long run, it'll be worth the struggle.

Next time, turn it off...and turn your kids on to reading!

Send this link on to other parents and grandparents who you think should see it.

Author Web Site


Normandie Fischer said...

Max, I love it! I think it's great that you're getting the word out to kids and getting them to pick up a book. Reading inspires; television corrupts. I can't wait to have some grandkids so I can pass along this love -- and buy your books for them!

Deborah Dee Harper said...


I have four grandsons and my goal is to encourage and instill in them healthy reading habits for the rest of their lives. I know television has a few shows that are wholesome, but for the most part it's filled with horrible messages. I agree with Normandie. There's nothing like being able to take a book outside, lean against a tree, and visit another world.

Thanks for doing what you do!


Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog

Linda Glaz said...

Max, what a great post. Our kids had books in their rooms and when they got in trouble, that was the only option. My son told me I turned him into a great reader by only allowing books in the room, I say it was his misbehaving that made him such a great reader. hehee

Normandie Fischer said...

Linda, I did the same thing with Joshua (and Ariana, but she read early and well). Joshua was a late reader. All the folks I knew were worried, which made me follow suit. Then I came across Raymond Moore's book Better Late Than Early, about why some boys read late. He said to relax, and by about eight, things would click. I should have written the man a testimonial. Josh turned eight and went from sounding out each word to reading fluently. Amazing.(He also became valedictorian of his high school, so I guess all those hours in his room helped!)