Warning as children shun books in favour of Facebook


Graeme Paton
London Telegraph
August 24, 2011

Schoolchildren are significantly more likely to be exposed to mobile phones and computers in the home than novels, according to researchers. They also found that reading frequency declined sharply with age, with 14 to 16 year–olds being more than 10 times as likely to avoid books altogether as those in primary education.

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The findings, in a study by the National Literacy Trust, follow the publication of an international league table last year that showed reading standards among children in Britain had slipped from 17th to 25th in the world.

Jonathan Douglas, the trust’s director, warned that people who failed to read books at a young age often suffered serious literacy problems in adulthood. “We are worried that they will grow up to be the one in six adults who struggle with literacy to the extent that they read to the level expected of an 11 year–old or below,” he said.

“Getting these children reading and helping them to love reading is the way to turn their lives around and give them new opportunities and aspirations.” The trust surveyed more than 18,000 children aged eight to 17. It found that 13 per cent of children failed to read a single book in the previous month.

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