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Literacy news

Technology offers a route into reading for disadvantaged three to five-year-olds

10 Mar 2014

Technological devices such as Smartphones and tablet computers can offer a new and important route into reading for three to five-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds. The National Literacy Trust and Pearson are calling on parents and early years practitioners to recognise the advantages of technology to engage young children in reading stories and have published tips and advice to support reading with three to five-year-olds on a touch screen and in print.

According to new research published today by the National Literacy Trust in collaboration with Pearson, poorer children benefit more from using books and touch-screens for sharing stories, than books alone. If they look at stories using books and touch screen they are less likely to perform below the expected standard for their age than if they use books only (54.5% vs. 100.0%). More advantaged children tended to perform at or above the expected standard for their age regardless of what they used to look at stories.

The Early Years Literacy survey carried out by the National Literacy Trust and Pearson showed that one in five early years practitioners say children use technology in their setting, but two thirds of them felt that their setting needed further access to touch screen devices. Using technology to read stories can lead to greater enjoyment of reading. The research found that children are more likely to enjoy reading if they use both books and a touch screen to look at stories, compared to books only (77.4% vs. 70.8%).

Ben Fogle, broadcaster, traveller and father to Ludo and Iona, aged five and three is keen to use technology with his children to read whenever possible. Ben says:

I embrace technology with my children. I read them stories down the line and even go to their school lessons (via iPad) from faraway lands to share my experiences live with the children's friends. My children love reading and touch screen technology enhances the experience for us all.

Information for practitioners on using technology in the early years

Parents can find tips on how to help their children at

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The National Literacy Trust is a registered charity no. 1116260 and a company limited by guarantee no. 5836486 registered in England and Wales and a registered charity in Scotland no. SC042944.
Registered address: 68 South Lambeth Road, London SW8 1RL.