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#1 of 11 Old 10-07-2009, 01:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi, I had a question for other parents who are screen-free. We are a screen free household, and our two year old daughter has never watched TV. However, we do read a lot of books. I don't buy books with media characters in them (except those where the books came first!), but otherwise do not limit her consumption. We have a large collection of children's books (all of my & my husband's books from growing up) and she can choose whichever she wants to have read to her. This means that she sometimes chooses books that are intended for older children. (Loving Frog & Toad at the moment). I don't think that she really understands what is happening in these books, but she enjoys the pictures and the rhythm of the language or whatever, so I read whatever she picks out.

However, I have noticed that when my daughter plays she often repeats long passages out of books that we've read together. For example, yesterday she put her dolly down to sleep and said:

"She dreams and dreams and dreams. Dreams dragons doing damage in the dark." Which is pretty much per verbatim from one of her books (Mog's ABCs).

Sometimes she just starts spouting off sections of books without any particular context that I can see (who knows what goes on within a child's head?).

My daughter turned two last month, and has a good expressive vocabulary. When she speaks with us, she uses her own words fairly well. She's an active kid, and gets plenty of exercise, so I am not worried about the impact of books on other areas of her life.

I know that one of the reasons for limiting screen time for children is that it can limit their imaginative play. They replay scenarios from the TV/movies instead of making up their own stories. Although I don't think she's acting out story lines from her books, she is certainly using their language a great deal in her play. I don't see that there is any quantitative difference between replacing your own imagination with stories from books and those from TV. Should I be limiting her selection of books in order to encourage her to create her own stories? Have any other parents seen similar things happen with their children? Do any of you limit the number or type of books available to your children?

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#2 of 11 Old 10-07-2009, 01:24 PM
 
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See, I do see a difference...

I see what your DD is doing as using books as a starting point for play... I mean, she has to use her imagination to "see" what she's reading, right? (well, mostly depending on what level books she's reading)

I'm also very impressed that she has all of these passages memorized! That's cool.

Have you tried talking to her about it? Like, asking why she chose that particular passage to use?

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#3 of 11 Old 10-07-2009, 03:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your response AFWife. At this point, most of her books are picture books. Some have more text than others, but the ones with more text I have a feeling she doesn't completely understand. I suppose I could argue that there is more "filling in the blanks" for a picture book than a television programme.

She just turned two last month, so her answers to questions is often short and not very informative. She saves her long sentences for when she wants to tell us something, not for when we want information from her.

The other day, she was playing in the bath and suddenly said "Catch that Cat! Meg ran past zebras.", which is part of one of her Meg & Mog books. I asked her who was trying to catch the cat, and she said "zookeeper", which is what is going on in the book, but didn't seem to be related to anything else she was doing at the time. I asked her if Meg was running in the bath and she said "yeah", but she tends to say "yeah" as a default whenever a question is asked that she doesn't want to answer / doesn't know the answer to / doesn't understand.

I'm not sure what is considered to be normal as far as language skill at this age. Her doctor seemed to think she was doing OK, but he didn't ask any questions, just noted that she was "speaking well" from what she said at the office. Are kids at this age supposed to be able to answer questions more informatively? Perhaps I'm seeing what is really a language problem as an imagination problem

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#4 of 11 Old 10-07-2009, 03:27 PM
 
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Humans learn through observation and imitation. Replace TV with books - kids will imitate books. Replace books with storytelling, kids will imitate stories they hear. Take away everything and lock a kid up with one adult in the room, the kids will imitate that one adult.

I think it's great what your daughter is doing. She is applying a model of language, she repeatedly hears form books, to her own speech. It will help her with figuring out the proper use of verbs and constructing sentences. It's a great thing. Don't doubt it for a second. Oh, and please... don't limit books.

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#5 of 11 Old 10-07-2009, 03:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Humans learn through observation and imitation. Replace TV with books - kids will imitate books. Replace books with storytelling, kids will imitate stories they hear. Take away everything and lock a kid up with one adult in the room, the kids will imitate that one adult.
Very good point. I think I'm overdoing the child development books these days and I'm letting myself get carried away. I'm a worrier by nature, and its easy for me to start believing that I've done something terribly wrong.

Thank you.

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#6 of 11 Old 10-07-2009, 04:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fustian View Post
Hi, I had a question for other parents who are screen-free. We are a screen free household, and our two year old daughter has never watched TV. However, we do read a lot of books. I don't buy books with media characters in them (except those where the books came first!), but otherwise do not limit her consumption. We have a large collection of children's books (all of my & my husband's books from growing up) and she can choose whichever she wants to have read to her. This means that she sometimes chooses books that are intended for older children. (Loving Frog & Toad at the moment). I don't think that she really understands what is happening in these books, but she enjoys the pictures and the rhythm of the language or whatever, so I read whatever she picks out.

However, I have noticed that when my daughter plays she often repeats long passages out of books that we've read together. For example, yesterday she put her dolly down to sleep and said:

"She dreams and dreams and dreams. Dreams dragons doing damage in the dark." Which is pretty much per verbatim from one of her books (Mog's ABCs).

Sometimes she just starts spouting off sections of books without any particular context that I can see (who knows what goes on within a child's head?).

My daughter turned two last month, and has a good expressive vocabulary. When she speaks with us, she uses her own words fairly well. She's an active kid, and gets plenty of exercise, so I am not worried about the impact of books on other areas of her life.

I know that one of the reasons for limiting screen time for children is that it can limit their imaginative play. They replay scenarios from the TV/movies instead of making up their own stories. Although I don't think she's acting out story lines from her books, she is certainly using their language a great deal in her play. I don't see that there is any quantitative difference between replacing your own imagination with stories from books and those from TV. Should I be limiting her selection of books in order to encourage her to create her own stories? Have any other parents seen similar things happen with their children? Do any of you limit the number or type of books available to your children?
Certainly don't limit the number of books available. It won't help her create her own.

Two is really young to create elaborate play. At this age, it is still fairly common for imaginative play to consist of pretending the remote is a telephone and they are calling Grandma or that the bag on the floor is filled with groceries from the grocery store.

I see a huge difference between the stories in books and on TV. A TV show has a single, fairly simplistic plot line. The vocabulary isn't as diverse or nuanced. The images don't always relate to the words being spoken. There isn't typically a moving human mouth forming the words spoken (the words come from either a cartoon or off-screen; research has shown a connection between seeing words formed and the development of vocabulary).

On the other hand, the pace of a book can be adjusted to fit your child's interest. You can interact with her over the pictures and story line (what is that cat doing? why do you think he likes to eat red crayons?). She can see your mouth. You can vary the vocabulary of a story, explaining challenging words as you go or adding in more detailed explanations. The stories are typically more detailed and complex, even with picture books.

Books rock!

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#7 of 11 Old 10-07-2009, 05:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by SeekingJoy View Post
I see a huge difference between the stories in books and on TV. A TV show has a single, fairly simplistic plot line. The vocabulary isn't as diverse or nuanced. The images don't always relate to the words being spoken. There isn't typically a moving human mouth forming the words spoken (the words come from either a cartoon or off-screen; research has shown a connection between seeing words formed and the development of vocabulary).

On the other hand, the pace of a book can be adjusted to fit your child's interest. You can interact with her over the pictures and story line (what is that cat doing? why do you think he likes to eat red crayons?). She can see your mouth. You can vary the vocabulary of a story, explaining challenging words as you go or adding in more detailed explanations. The stories are typically more detailed and complex, even with picture books.

Books rock!
I agree with you! I think that books are more interactive with the parent, provide better, more complicated, and more diverse stories and vocabulary etc. It's when it comes to the specific point of TV stories influencing and overwhelming children's imaginative play that I have seen a parallel with my daughter and books. If it's worrying when kids do it with TV shows, it must be equally worrying when they do it with books? However, I'm going to try to just relax a little more about it. You're probably correct in that I'm just jumping the gun on what I think she should be doing in her play at the moment.

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#8 of 11 Old 12-06-2009, 01:04 PM
 
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I have wondered this exact same thing a few times!

DS is 2.5 and is also screen-free. He LOVES his books and his imaginary friends come from them. He says "I'm Roo and you're Kanga" and then he and his "friends and relations" go on an "expotition" all around the house picking blueberries and hunting for hefalumps. Then we'll go on a walk and we're Toot and Puddle in Wildest Borneo and he finds the "wild indigo mud lily" and gets stung by a "banded bush bee". He actually takes them very far (all day even) and occasionally adds his own twists but its often straight from the stories.

If this was his only imaginative play I might be concerned, but then he'll say the bed is the ocean and the pillow is his boat and he sees a fish and then a pirate, etc. This is at most a loose interpretation of several stories I made up and not a literal acting out of a book.

Then he wants to pretend he's his cousin and I am his other cousin and he he asks "what can C--- do?" and I give him a suggestion and he says "C--- is cutting the box open with a key."

I agree with Oriole, they will act out whatever they hear/see.
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#9 of 11 Old 12-17-2009, 03:11 AM
 
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I believe having a love of books/reading is much more important than whether or not your daughter created a scenario or jumped off from a story.

I think it is great that she's quoting these books-- sounds like a smart cookie to me.

Welcome to the Real World she said to me, condescendingly, take a seat. Take your life; plot it out in black and white.
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#10 of 11 Old 01-25-2010, 07:46 PM
 
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Some great points have already been made. Here's one more thing to think about... you probably like the idea of her being inspired and drawn to books long-term, right? You definitely don't feel that way about TV.

At 2 it is normal that she doesn't answer with long sentences most of the time. Children vary wildy at 2 years as per language use. The fact that she is repeating lines from the book shows that she is learning from and assimilating that language. If she were watching TV instead, all the flashy movements and pictures would likely distract her from the language.

Just my 2 cents.

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#11 of 11 Old 01-25-2010, 07:51 PM
 
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Interesting thread...

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