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Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

Kids and educational media

January 24, 2014

A new report from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center provides new insight into young children's (ages 2-10) use of educational media at home. For the purposes of this study, educational media is identified as content that "is good for your child's learning or growth, or that teaches some type of lesson, such as an academic or social skill."

There are lots of interesting results to be discussed, and I'll put just two here:

First has to do with the trends in educational media use as kids get older. Parent reports suggest that as screen media use goes up (that is, kids interacting more frequently with mobile devices and less often with TVs and DVDs) the proportion of time interacting with educational content goes down. It appears that the apps that consume much of kids' screen time aren't providing the same educational bang for the buck as an episode of Sesame Street or Dora the Explorer.

Second, it's interesting what parents say their child has learned through educational media. According to the report, "There are differences in what parents say their children are learning from educational media. More parents report that their children have learned a lot about reading (37 percent) and math (28 percent) from educational media than science (19 percent) or the arts (15 percent)." That finding isn't surprising, but it's clear that we need more good science-based educational media!

I encourage you to read the full report, which can be found here.

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