10 Reasons "Sesame Street" Is Bad News for Reading

Healy, Jane M.
February 1991
Education Digest;Feb91, Vol. 56 Issue 6, p63
This article discusses the detrimental effects of the TV program, Sesame Street, on the reading and learning abilities of children. Sesame Street has popularized the erroneous belief that we should try to teach preschoolers to read. In fact, misguided efforts to train them to sound out words diverts valuable time and attention from their real learning needs: active, hands-on play and exploration to install the cognitive and language furnishings that will make the brain a comfortable place for real literacy to dwell. The ages of Sesame Street, optimistically crafted to narrow the chasms of disadvantage, has, in fact seen those gaps widen. Another reason may well be the facetious treatment of letters and other symbols that dance about, transform themselves, and generally give children a very erroneous idea of what to expect from the printed page. To organize the confusing array of sensory stimuli in a young child's world, children need an environment over which they feel some control. Yet, rather than encouraging children to develop perceptual organization, this program may actually force them to practice habits of perceptual defense as a matter of neural self-protection.


Related Articles

  • SESAME STREET DVDS OFFER SOCIAL EDUCATION. Tribbey, Chris // Home Media Magazine;8/19/2007, Vol. 29 Issue 33, p30 

    The article reviews "Good Night Sesame" and "Playtime With Grover," box sets of episodes from the television series "Sesame Street," released on DVD.

  • Untitled.  // Time;11/23/1970, Vol. 96 Issue 21, p13 

    The article presents the views of Stefan Kanfer, associate director of the periodical, on the television program "Sesame Street." He says that when his children are not at home, he watches this television show. It informs that Kanfer has written cover story on the television's best children's...

  • II: RECEPTION AND CULTURAL IDENTITY: Sesame Street: Cognition and Communications Imperialism. Hendershot, Heather; Kinder, Marsha // Kid's Media Culture;1999, p137 

    This chapter recounts the history of criticisms of Sesame Street and lays out new grounds on which to question the program. When Sesame Street first appeared on the air on November 16, 1969, it was unique in several ways. Sesame Street's 1968-1970 budget was $8,191,100, the largest amount of...

  • Educational TV Consumption and Children’s Interest in Leisure Reading and Writing: A Test of the Validated Curriculum Hypothesis. Jensen, Jakob D.; Martins, Nicole; Weaver, Jeremy; Ratcliff, Chelsea // Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media;Jun2016, Vol. 60 Issue 2, p213 

    The relationship between children’s TV consumption and literacy outcomes is currently unclear, as past research has identified both linear and curvilinear trends. One explanation for the contradictory results is the varying content children consume; specifically, researchers have argued...

  • 'STREET' CRED.  // Entertainment Weekly;4/9/2004, Issue 759, p17 

    Announces the celebration of the 35th anniversary of television program for children "Sesame Street."

  • Sesame Street--Preschool is Cool: Making Friends. Williams-Wood, J. // Video Librarian;Mar/Apr2013, Vol. 28 Issue 2, p47 

    A review of the DVD release "Sesame Street--Preschool is Cool: Making Friends" is presented.

  • Sesame Street: Elmo the Musical. Williams-Wood, J. // Video Librarian;Jul/Aug2013, Vol. 28 Issue 4, p43 

    A review of the DVD release of the television program "Sesame Street: Elmo the Musical" is presented.

  • Brief History. Romero, Frances // Time;11/16/2009, Vol. 174 Issue 19, p19 

    The article discusses the history of children's television (TV). The author notes that the show "Howdy Doody" was the most popular TV show of its time but that it wasn't until the show "Sesame Street" began that children's television evolved into educational programming. According to the article...

  • Oz org lobbies for a kids channel. Chai, Paul // Variety;9/24/2007, Vol. 408 Issue 6, p25 

    The article focuses on the Sydney, Australia television industry where children are rejecting educational television shows. The lobbyist group Australia Children's Television Foundation (ACTF) has petitioned the Australian government to create a free children's network with entertaining but...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics