TV Harms Reading and Academic Performance

Excessive television-watching harms reading skills both by displacing them from our daily lives and, according to some experts, by affecting the physical structure of the brain.

Researcher Susan B. Neuman of the University of Lowell put it succinctly more than a decade ago reading scores diminished sharply for those students watching more than four hours a day and today’s data continue to support her conclusion. In 1998, 52 percent of 12th-graders who watched an hour or less of TV a day achieved proficiency on reading tests, whereas only 14 percent of those who watched more than six hours did. Only 27 percent of those who watched four to five hours read proficiently.

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