Following this somewhat depressing article the question of young children, books (picture books particularly) and early reading fills my thoughts. There is nothing so wonderful as sharing a book with a child, or several children, or many. Have you ever seen the look of excitement and wonder as a story unfolds before them? As they guess what is coming next, what might be hidden in the pictures, where the furry little hero is heading, what exactly is in the “great green room”? You get the idea. If you have the complete delight of sitting with one of these little people on your lap you can positively feel them twitch and quiver with anticipation.
However, there is much competition for the attention of little ones. There is television, the computer, electronic games, etc. Hopefully, some of this media will be book related and they will be offered early learning programs and reading games. But nothing compares to being read to, sharing a book together and discovering the printed word and pictures without something that requires a battery or plug.
So, what a surprise to discover this. Online Story Time. huh??? I must have been under a rock as Barnes and Noble have a whole section devoted to it here. Lovely picture books are read to children by the authors.
And several others. There is something wonderful about listening to the author of a book reading to you. Maurice Sendak has a rough, gravely voice and listening to him say “wild things” almost sends shivers down your spine.
Lovely idea. Well put together. And then you can buy the book. Great marketing.
However, in this fast paced world where the television and/or the computer is the babysitter and children spend far too much time on electronic media and less interacting together (timetables play dates for the younger set, texting and not conversing for the older set) I find myself worrying about this. Despite the potentials, I am sure it has little value and is really a gimmick. Hopefully parents will sit with their little one and listen and watch together. Maybe the parent who feels they don’t know how to read out load…..
I am not convinced about this. What do you think? Is this a wonderful idea or is it a gimmick? What’s next…..story time on Skype?