Screen time is up—here's how to refocus on reading

Fan fiction and other surprising ways to coax kids back to books

Marisa Johnson’s six-year-old daughter was just learning to read independently when her Alameda, California, school shut down last year. Without solid literacy skills and lots of time stuck at home, the tot is spending much more time playing video games and watching shows than reading books.

“She’s definitely reading less,” Johnson says. “The only way we can be alone among ourselves is with screens.”

As many parents know, screen time has ballooned during the pandemic. Recreational device time jumped 67 percent among kids ages four to 17 during lockdown in Germany, according to a study published in Nature. Dubit Limited found an 11 percent increase in screen time among U.S. kids ages two to 15; laptop usage jumped 52 percent, likely due to distance learning.

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