Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Do Children Prefer Tablets and e-Readers Over Traditional Books?

Last month, as she presented author Joanne Harris with an MBE for services to literature at Buckingham Palace, the Queen expressed her concern regarding children’s preferences for e-Readers and tablets over the traditional physical book.

This is obviously something close to the monarch’s heart – even though in her regal capacity she rarely voices such sentiments, she spoke, on this occasion, as a mother, grandmother and now great grandmother.

Joanne Harris is most famed for her best-selling novel Chocolat in 1999, published in 50 countries. After the ceremony she said: “She asked me what I thought about e-books and computer games and said that she feared that children were playing with those more than they were reading books. So I told her that we start them on e-books and computer games and TV and then try to get them on to books later.

The author added that the shape of books may change but that “people always need stories and the shape of those stories may alter”. It is her opinion that traditional books will be with us for a long time and it is great that both adults and children have a wide variety of reading choices.

Earlier this year, the National Literacy Trust published research showing that “a majority of children preferred to read on screens rather than books”, and 50 per cent of the nation’s two and three-year-olds use a tablet. More worryingly, children’s literacy skills seem to be taking a downturn, with the popularity of new technology.

So, is the book as we know it dying out in favour of e-Readers and tablets?  One solution may be to expose children to both worlds – e-Readers and traditional story books and let them make their own choices. 

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  1. This is an interesting view from the Queen, and demonstrates how up to date with technology she must be. I wonder how many other mid-octogenarians would even know what a tablet and re-reader are!

    1. Apparently, as I have read in the past, the Queen likes to be really up-to-date with the latest technology and has been embracing smartphones and iPads for some years now, enlisting any support needed from her grandchildren. I know - it's really admirable - she really has an interest in all the latest stuff!