On Finding Waldo & Going "Old School"

April 27, 2017

Even though we tend to talk about learning disabilities, dyslexia, ADHD and other school stuff in these blogs, sometimes just talking about the state of modern childhood catches our attention.

When kids come in to the office, there is often some down time where I may be talking with a parent and the child is not a part of the process.  I usually offer them some things to do.  Since the office isn’t equipped with iPads or other technological goodies, they are offered “old school” activities, like drawing at the white board or playing with some cars, figures and other objects.

There’s also a bookshelf of kid-friendly books.  One of the books on the shelf is the one from the “Where’s Waldo” series.

Two siblings came in recently and I suggested that they try and find Waldo while I talked to their parents.  They looked at me like I was beyond crazy.  If their nonverbal could speak words, it would be something like, “Find Waldo???  Why would we want to do that???  I mean we do have our phones here and that’s so much better than finding this goofy looking person hiding somewhere among these thousands of images.”

They gave a little half-hearted attempt to find Waldo in the first picture and then turned back to their phones.

I tried having a few other kids spend some of their down time looking for Waldo and I pretty much got the same response – a shrug and a look of “Why would I do that?”

One of the things that struck me was how removed the whole “Where’s Waldo” book and activity were from their lives.  Not only did they have pretty limited interest in finding him, they really didn’t know anything about Waldo.  They had never seen any of the books.

I don’t know why that strikes me as sad, but it does.  Waldo’s out there hiding and no one’s looking for him.

Increasingly, I have been seeing articles and studies and gathering anecdotal data that if it isn’t on a screen it has little value for a child.

Waldo’s in a book.

Takeaway Point

Every once in a while, carve out some “old school” time and put the screens away for about a half hour or so.  Get a hold of a couple of Waldo books (don’t look for the Waldo app on the iPad) and have a little fun together.

Waldo and your child will thank you for it.

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All comments (4)
  • Pat Gerke
    April 29, 2017 at 8:18 pm

    Books have been part of our world for as long as I and my kids can recall. They speak, even as teens, of the adventures […] Read MoreBooks have been part of our world for as long as I and my kids can recall. They speak, even as teens, of the adventures books have taken them on while peers look on in disbelief. I have noticed that it is Book Clubs, not teachers, that encourage reading from a book still. So it is as if the adults are giving in to the electronic world without allowing the joys to be (re)discovered. With multiple bookcases in our home, even for cookbooks, I believe there is much to be enjoyed from discovering the wonderful world of words (and pictures!) Read Less

    Reply
  • Stanley Sterenberg
    May 04, 2017 at 8:03 am

    This story is a nice example of the short attention span (and low frustration tolerance) that is an unintended consequence of the world of technology […] Read MoreThis story is a nice example of the short attention span (and low frustration tolerance) that is an unintended consequence of the world of technology on our wives. One challenge the world of education faces is how to create situations that encourage/permit "struggling" with some material, even when students don't immediately comprehend how to do a problem (eg. thinking outside the box). Check out this link to one of the great experiments in frustration tolerance: https://www.ted.com/talks/joachim_de_posada_says_don_t_eat_the_marshmallow_yet?language=en#t-17450 Read Less

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