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Literacy news

Technology engages boys and poorer children to read for longer

1 Dec 2014

Tablets and touch-screen technology could be vital to engage new readers from key groups of young children where literacy is a concern.

New research published today by the National Literacy Trust and Pearson shows that touch-screen technology can be more effective in engaging children aged 3 to 5 with reading than books. It also reveals that technology is particularly beneficial in groups of children where literacy is a concern: poor children and boys.

The Early Years Literacy Survey shows the role touch-screen devices play in the home and pre-school learning environments.

Figures show that a higher number of children from low income backgrounds (DE households) are more likely to read stories on touch-screen devices for longer and use them for educational activities, than those from high income backgrounds (AB households). Findings show that:

• Twice as many young children from DE households than from AB households read stories on a touch-screen for longer than they read printed stories (29.5% vs 17.4%)

• A higher number of children from DE households than AB households use technology more for educational activities than for entertainment (43.2% vs 30.4%)

Figures also reveal that boys are more likely to use touch-screen devices for reading and educational activities for a longer period than paper.

• Twice as many boys as girls look at or read stories on a touch-screen for longer than they look at or read printed stories (24.0% vs 12.0%)

• More boys than girls use a touch screen for educational activities than for entertainment (36.0% vs. 28.2%)

The survey also found that 91.7% of children aged 3 to 5 have access to touch-screen technology at home and access to touch-screen technology in early years settings has doubled since 2013. Plus, the majority of pre-school teachers and practitioners said they would like to see more touch-screen technology in early years environments.

The Early Years Literacy Survey is the second annual survey produced by the National Literacy Trust and Pearson. Parents and practitioners were asked about the use, influence and attitudes towards books and stories on touch-screen devices with children aged 3 to 5.

To read the full report, click here.

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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.