Smartphones and tablets 'can encourage poor children to read'

New technology can help pre-school children from poorer backgrounds take up reading, according to a new report. The National Literacy Trust found youngsters were more likely to read at the right level if they have access to the new technology.

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Parents and technology have 'a vital role' in child literacy

Parents and new technologies have "a vital role to play" in making sure children develop their ability to read, a literacy charity has said.

NLT director Jonathan Douglas, warned reading, either on a tablet or physical book, was more beneficial to pre-school children if it was done with an adult.

Technology is playing an increasingly crucial role in all our lives and the ways in which children are learning are changing fast.

It is important that we keep abreast of these changes and their impact on children's education.

When parents read with their children, whatever the medium, they increase their child's enjoyment of reading which brings life-long benefits.

Both practitioners and parents have a vital role to play in supporting children to read from an early age whether they use books or a touch screen.

– NLT director Jonathan Douglas

'One in four children' use touch screen to read

Just over a quarter of children (26%) use a touch screen at home to read stories, a literacy charity has found.

The National Literacy Trust (NLT) found pre-school children were more likely to read every day if they had access to smartphones and tablets, as well as physical books.

  • The study also found children were still more likely to read using a physical book, with almost all (95.2%) looking at print-based stories on a typical week.
  • Children were more likely to enjoy reading if they used both books and a touch screen than reading books alone (77.4% compared to 70.8%).
  • Parents were keen to give their youngsters a head start in understanding modern technology. Nearly three quarters (73.7%) agreed it was important for their child to learn to use technology from an early age.


Poor children 'twice as likely' to read daily with tablet

Poor children under the age of five were twice as likely to read every day if they had access to a smartphone or tablet, a report has found.

Children who used both touch screen and print were "less likely" to under perform academically, the study found. Credit: Reuters

Youngsters are more likely to enjoy looking at a book and be reading at the right level for their age if they have access to the new technology, according to the study.

Research carried out by the National Literacy Trust (NLT) and education firm Pearson pointed to growing literacy among three to five-year-olds who used both touch screen and basic print technologies.

The findings, based on a poll of around 1,000 parents, found pre-schoolers from lower socio-economic backgrounds are twice as likely to look at stories using touch screen technology on a daily basis than those from more privileged homes (16% compared to 7.2%).

The study concludes: "Technology offers a route into reading for disadvantaged three to five-year-old children. Of children who have a touch screen at home, children of lower socio-economic status are twice as likely to look at stories daily."

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