Weekly Question: Better to Learn from Books or TV?

Do you believe it’s better for children to learn from books or from TV?


Do you believe it’s better for children to learn from books or from TV? Now, before you say it’s BETTER to learn from school (home, private, or public), I’m not saying that either books or TV should be a child’s PRIMARY source of learning. I’m simply asking which of these two do YOU believe is better? Comment below with your answer.

My Answer:

I’ll admit, when my children were young (birth to around 6), I didn’t let them watch shows like Sponge Bob. Never mind the “entertainment” value, I didn’t believe these types of shows taught my children anything. And, since it’s said their minds are like sponges at that age, I wanted to take advantage of prime learning opportunities. When they watched television, I loaded them up with shows like Dora and Diego, Blues Clues, Super Why!, and Bubble Guppies. Other shows like Reading Rainbow, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Sesame Street and, my personal favorite, The Magic School Bus often found a playtime as well. But certainly not the Aeon Flux, Beavis and Butthead, or Ren and Stimpy type shows I remember watching while growing up.

With that said, while I believe there is plenty of learning to be had from television, I do think it’s a passive form of entertainment and comes in second to reading. Reading, on the other hand, actively engages the mind, which in turn bolsters the possibility of retaining what’s learned. But, that’s my opinion. What’s yours?

Thanks to Kat over at The Lily Cafe for giving me the Weekly Question idea. 


Here are some extra links in case you’re wanting to read more.

2 Comments on “Weekly Question: Better to Learn from Books or TV?

  1. What a great question! I’m kind of jealous I didn’t think of it first. To answer your question, though, I think it depends on the age. For my kids, at least. They’re almost 5 and 2 and have been quite bouncy for most of their lives, so reading to them meant I read while they screamed and ran around. My youngest was a bit obsessed with a book about germs, though, but she didn’t learn to wash her hands, so maybe she just might not have been old enough for it. And it’s so hard to browse for children’s books because they randomly pull them from the shelf and never let me find something that they could potentially learn from. Though the ABC and 123 books are easy to come by and hopefully have an impact. But I’m a dedicated PBS mom, otherwise they only get Disney Junior, though I have serious doubts about some of their programing. I credit Odd Squad for getting my 3.5 year old interested in learning how to add and subtract (he actually can now!). So I’d say for the younger ages my kids definitely picked up more from PBS, but now that my son is older he’s learning from books, too.

    Gosh, I’m not sure if that makes sense. As a reader, I definitely prefer books. Instead of saying everything I know I learned from my cat I say everything I know I learned from Nancy Drew. My mom was a strict PBS mom, too, though, and I have fond memories of Reading Rainbow, Wishbone, and Ghost Writer. But I definitely go with books. For my kids, I think it’s the opposite. We read every day, but books make them impatient and they get a lot of ideas and vocabulary from PBS. Though my oldest IS getting easier, so he’s slowly learning books are fun.

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