NO TV FOR A YEAR: Fifth-grader says it made her a better readerKaiti Tiedeman did the near unthinkable. The 10-year-old, fifth-grader at Willow River Elementary School went the entire year of 2009 without watching television.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
Kaiti Tiedeman did the near unthinkable.
The 10-year-old, fifth-grader at Willow River Elementary School went the entire year of 2009 without watching television.
“I got a lot better at reading, because I read more,” Kaiti said of the experience. “You get smarter at school. Most people don’t like school, but I do.”
Kaiti’s mother, Wendy Kable, put her up to the challenge.
She and her brother, Jerry Panning of River Falls, did the same thing back in 1984 when they were nine and 10 years old, respectively.
Kaiti and her younger brother, first-grader Jon Kable, were arguing about what to watch on TV one day in late 2008 when Kable thought of making them an offer like her parents had made her and her brother.
Kable’s parents said they would give them $200 if they gave up TV for a year.
Kable upped the ante for Kaiti and Jon to $500.
“It was probably a lot easier than it is now,” Kable said of her year without TV. “We only had five channels – and kids’ TV programming was only Saturday morning.”
Besides, kids played outside in the Pennsylvanian neighborhood where she lived then, and the weather was warmer.
Kable’s parents, who have since divorced, are Peggy Fowler and Bruce Penning. They both now reside in Stillwater, Minn.
Kable and her brother didn’t get the $200. They were going to buy a TV with it, so their parents stepped in and convinced them to purchase an Apple IIc computer.
Kaiti has gotten $100 of the $500 she was promised. She’s waiting for a summer vacation in Wisconsin Dells to collect the rest. She doesn’t want to spend it before she hits the Dells.
Asked what persuaded her to try going without TV for a year, Kaiti said, “Well, my mom told me she did it when she was little, so I thought that was pretty cool.”
And then there was the $500 incentive.
Kaiti said she spent more time outdoors and playing with friend Macey Ellsworth during the year without TV.
She and her mom and brother played a lot of board games, too. They have about 30 games on a shelf in their St. Croix Street home. Sorry, Monopoly and dominos are some of Kaiti’s favorites.
The Judy Moody series of books was her favorite reading.
“She did a lot better than we expected,” Kable said of how Kaiti handled the break from television. “Fortunately, she’s creative and enjoys doing crafts and things on her own. She’s always been more self-entertaining than a lot of other kids.”
Kable was also speaking for her ex-husband and Kaiti’s father, Lane Tiedeman of Elk River, Minn.
She allowed Kaiti and Jon to watch one movie a week, either in a theater or a DVD at home. Sometimes they did and sometimes they didn’t, she said.
Kaiti said the greatest temptation to turn on the TV came when she was at her dad’s place for a weekend.
But her father was on board with helping Kaiti avoid TV and kept her on the go, Kable said.
“iCarly vs. Zoey 101” on Nickelodeon was the TV show Kaiti missed the most.
Kaiti and Jon went on a short TV-watching binge when it was turned on again after the first of the year, Kable reported. But now they’re settling into a routine of less television, she said.
She said Kaiti is excelling in her studies in Mrs. Dobberstein’s fifth-grade classroom this school year.