Electronics Joins Television As America’s Most Wanted For Stealing Kids’ Reading Time

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Technology, electronics, and portable gaming have joined the ‘boob tube’ as the prime suspects for robbing children of quality reading time. Pioneer of speed-reading software and authority on genetic algorithms says the solution lies in changing the experience of reading from work into pleasure.

The better you can read, the more you want to do it

Once seen as the chief enemy of reading, television has been joined by electronics as the #1 threat to children’s quality reading time. “Pre-teens and teenagers not just couch potatoes,” reports Dr. Simon Ronald, an expert in the field of genetic algorithms and reading improvement. “Today they’re techno addicts,” he says ‘hooked’ on PDA’s, iPods, computer games, and other electronic diversions.”

Dr. Simon Ronald is the creator of RocketReader, proprietary software for teaching high-performance reading techniques. Available to individuals and schools, the company offers special units for children (RocketReader Kids), pre-teens and adults (RocketReader).

Now more than a decade old, RocketReader software is an evolutionary product that has grown over time. “We’ve had over 50 releases and improvements through the years,” says Dr. Ronald. “The world keeps changing and so do we.”

Then and Now

In 1998, when RocketReader was still in its infancy, the A.C. Nielsen Company reported that 81% of 4th graders watched 14 or more hours of TV each week. “It was the consensus that kids needed to watch less and read more,” recalls Dr. Ronald.

They didn’t.

Nearly ten years later, kids in the United States now watch about 4 hours of TV a day…or about 28 hours per week…nearly double the Nielsen sampling. (Source: American Academy of Pediatrics).

The New TV

In its 2005 “Kids and Consumer Electronics Report", marketing firm NPD reports that over 40% of all children own their own videogame systems and 31% own their own TVs. In households with kids age 4-14, 94% have a desktop computer and 90% own DVD players and TVs!

“The trend is clear, kids are not only turning on the TV but turning on their electronics devices,” says Dr. Ronald. “Valuable book-reading is being pushed even further into the background as a source of knowledge and pleasure,” he says.

What Is Johnny Reading?

Dr. Ronald reports that websites are frequently filled with “simplistic language, and shallow chat exchange.” He calls it a “culture of intentional ignorance” and urges parents and students to “opt-in instead to quality reading and real knowledge.”

“At their best, the Internet and websites provide amazing opportunities for reading skills,” says Dr. Ronald. “At the worst, they’re a breeding ground for bad reading habits and misinformation.”

Breaking the Cycle

The inability to read well drives a cycle of disappointment and anger for children who find that without the ability to read, they just can’t learn. That frustration can cause many children to turn away from books, perhaps for a lifetime.

RocketReader says Ronald, “breaks the cycle of failure. It transforms reading into a rewarding experience that kids can enjoy as a pleasure and an accomplishment, not just a chore.”

They key, he says, is a combination of exercises, flash training, speed training, memory tests, practice readings and timed speed tests.

“The better you can read, the more you want to do it,” says Ronald simply. “As a student progresses with RocketReader, his or her skills are always improving and that provides motivation and inspiration for more reading.”

About RocketReader Pty Ltd

RocketReader Pty Ltd was established in 1996. Dr. Simon Ronald, who has authored numerous papers and articles on genetic algorithms and machine learning processes, is the company’s founder and the visionary educator behind RocketReader high performance reading training for children and adults. Unlike traditional reading programs, RocketReader uses advanced training techniques to teach students how to break poor reading habits and replace them with fast, accurate reading skills for improved comprehension and superior retention.


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Maya Robers
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