Saturday, November 15, 2008

let me edutain you

...or not.

I hate this commercial. I hate the message. I hate the idea.

I love books. I love the idea of kids getting into and loving books. But, this commercial just irks me (as if you couldn't tell).

The weird giant frog asks the kids which is more fun: reading Sponge Bob, Kung Fu Panda and Disney Princess stuff using this technology or reading the Journal of Amphibious Species (I think that's about what he said). He goes on to talk about how with Leap Pad Tag, the "reading" is done in the character's voices and how this will help kids learn to love reading for life.

Okay. But, um, books aren't always "read" to us adults. And, are our only choices these very big business texts? It's like one giant techno-corporate orgy.

What about Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day? What about Old Black Witch? What about Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs? What about Blackberry Ink (or Halloween ABC)? What about sitting down with our kidlets and reading a book to them (it really doesn't take that long to read a picture matter how long I try to draw it out so that suddenly, hey look, it might be Pic's bedtime). (And traditional books are so much more affordable, what with libraries and all of the places we can buy used books.)

I'm not saying that I outright hate the idea of the Leap Pad Tag thing (although I'm pretty sure I'll never ever buy one). When I was younger, I had those read-along stories on record (y'know, the ones that chime when you're supposed to turn the page...I know they have different versions of those now). I also had plenty of regular books and we went to the library (both with family and at school). Also, Pic does have this (horrible, terrible, no good, very bad) fascination with Disney princesses. I just try to temper that by giving her so many options for other things to be obsessed with, other options to round out her views of where she should fit into this world (take The Paper Bag Princess for example).

So no, I'm not saying that I hate this Tag thing or that I would outright ban it, I just hate the commercial and the commerciality of the product. I hate that the commercial (does what commercials do and) makes it seem like what we have is so inadequate, like regular ink/paint-on-paper books are so pointless and boring. Um, hello, that Journal the frogman was using as a comparison was more like an encyclopedia. There didn't look to be any narrative (on the two pages shown) in the reptile book. That being noted, Pic chooses dinosaur books designed with this same format somewhat often. We look at these books together and then either she or I, or both of us, make up our own narratives to go with the pictures. Oh, yeah, there's that imagination thing. Let's not be too hasty to kill that off, okay?


P.S. I hate this whole "edutainment" craze. Why can't some things for kids just be fun?


The Furie Queene said...

I totally agree with you on this one. And what bothers me, too, is that the guy says that it makes kids love reading for life, but really, doesn't it make them love being lazy for life? I mean, they're not reading. They're waving a pen over the words. They don't even necessarily need to look at the words. How is that educational???

Coach J said...