this article about Alzheimer's disease, without being conclusive (because what studies are conclusive), explains that people who read are two and a half times less likely to have Alzheimer's disease, whereas TV watching may actually be a risk factor for getting Alzheimer's.
TV may indeed rot your brain and reading may indeed grow it. Maybe.
If you do decide to be bold and daring and turn off the TV this summer (you won't regret it!), you can use this article as ammunition. You can proclaim this summer an experiment. You can ask them if they can feel their brains growing as they read or play or do other intellectually stimulating activities as opposed to when they used to watch TV and play video games. You could involve them in the process and the decision. You could sit them down and explain to them the benefits of reading and how you want them to live long, satisfied lives. Summer is the chance to separate test scores and multiple-choice questions from reading, because so many kids associate reading with school and school with pressure and tests. How many of our kids associate reading with pleasure and growth?
The one thing I can promise you is this: if you talk to your kids about decisions like this and explain why you are making them, they get it. They understand. My boys do not play any video games whatsoever, and they seem to be the only ones around them who do not, but they never complain. Really. So far. I promise. I am not delusional. Except for sometimes.
So since summer reading should be reading for pleasure, and because I am giving up on the idea of Battle of the Books, this is what my kids are reading right now—for fun:
Mary (nearly 13):
Heist Society by Ally Carter (and its sequels)
Family Tree Book #1: Better to Wish by Ann M. Martin (This totally surprised me. She loved it so much, she wanted to see if the next in the series was out yet. This is out of character for this girl who tends to pick up whatever is lying around, start it and not finish it).
Lucy is reading
for this first time. And she's very confused about how the books line up with the movies. But she'll get over it.
Calvin is reading
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart and its sequels.
Shaemus is reading
Captain Awesome by Stan Kirby
Dinosaur Cove by Rex Stone
and (don't tell him I told you this—a girl detective!)
Cinderella Smith by Stephanie Barden
Flannery is loving sticker books by Roger Priddy right now:
Does anyone out there have any really great sticker books to recommend? Our family is going to a family fiddling camp in a little over a week and Flannery and I are going to have lots of staring time at each other while the others are off making music...