Submitted: The Two Sides Team May 20, 2013
For the first time children are reading more on computers and other electronic devices than they are reading books, magazines, newspapers and comics. This is potentially detrimental to childrens reading levels as those who read daily only on-screen are much less likely to be good readers than those who read in print. The National Literacy Trust is calling for a healthier reading balance using both books and technological devices.
16 May 2013 – National Literacy Trust
For the first time children are reading more on computers and other
electronic devices than they are reading books, magazines, newspapers
and comics. This is potentially detrimental to childrens reading levels
as those who read daily only on-screen are much less likely to be good
readers than those who read in print. The National Literacy Trust is
calling for a healthier reading balance using both books and
New research with 34,910 young people aged 8 to sixteen published by charity the National Literacy Trust reveals:
- 39% of children and young people read daily using electronic devices
including tablets and eReaders, but only 28% read printed materials
daily. The number of children reading eBooks has doubled in the last two
years (from 6% to 12%).
- Children say they prefer to read on screen. Over half (52%) said
they would rather read on electronic devices but only a third (32%)
would rather read in print.
- Nearly all children have access to a computer at home and 4 out of
10 now own a tablet or a smartphone, while 3 in 10 do not have a desk of
- Girls are significantly more likely than boys to read in print (68% vs 54%)
- Girls are also more likely to read on a range of on-screen devices
including mobile phones (67% girls vs. 60% boys), eReaders (84% girls
vs. 69% boys), and tablets (70% girls vs. 67% boys).
The research examines the influence of this technology on childrens
reading abilities and their enjoyment of reading. It found those who
read daily only on-screen are nearly twice less likely to be above
average readers than those who read daily in print or in print and
on-screen (15.5% vs 26%). Those who read only on-screen are also three
times less likely to enjoy reading very much (12% vs 51%) and a third
less likely to have a favourite book (59% vs 77%).
National Literacy Trust Director, Jonathan Douglas said:
Our research confirms that technology is playing a
central role in young peoples literacy development and reading choice.
While we welcome the positive impact which technology has on bringing
further reading opportunities to young people, its crucial that reading
in print is not cast aside.
We are concerned by our finding that children who only
read on-screen are significantly less likely to enjoy reading and less
likely to be strong readers. Good reading skills and reading for
pleasure are closely linked to childrens success at school and beyond.
We need to encourage children to become avid readers, whatever format
The research is being launched today at an event hosted by its
funders, law firm Slaughter and May. National Literacy Trust Director
Jonathan Douglas will chair a debate with experts including Coventry
Universitys Professor Clare Wood who has researched the impact of text
messaging on literacy; Lindsay Nadin, Head of Primary Literacy
Publishing at Pearson UK Schools; Lord Jim Knight, former Minister of
State for Schools; and Kate Wilson, Managing Director of childrens book
and app publisher Nosy Crow.
About the research
34,910 children and young people aged 8 to sixteen from across the UK
took part in the National Literacy Trust research in December 2012. The
full findings will be published in a forthcoming report.
About the National Literacy Trust
We are the
only national charity dedicated to raising literacy levels in the UK.
Our research and analysis make us the leading authority on literacy. We
run projects in the poorest communities, campaign to make literacy a
priority for politicians and parents, and support schools.