Children See Reading Books As Low Priority

News / November 6, 2011

The wonderful world of a child’s imagination fueled by reading books is being stifled. Instead of developing literacy skills in education through reading books children are turning to text and Facebook messages. Instead of developing their creative skills and the use of the written word less than 50 per cent of children admit they have read a book outside of school. There are several educational games that help in story writing that teachers and parents can use to inspire the reluctant reader. Fables and Cautionary Tales Story Spinners

Watching children converse by text and mobile phone clearly demonstrates their instant communications expertise. But predicative text and abbreviations are not conducive to developing their skill in English prose. Maybe this is nothing new and has all happened before. Some 30 years ago the form of instant communication was Telex. Speed and brevity was the essence in telex use as charged by the character messages had to be short and unequivocal as the content could be used as a bidding contract. It was a very particular form of communication – perhaps for this reason perhaps there were very few novels written in the abbreviated  language used in Telex communications. A salutary point if our children focus on instant communication rather developed argument.

A survey commissioned by The National Literacy Trust surveyed 18,000 school children aged eight to 17 years old revealed that outside the classroom they preferred to read text messages and emails than a novel. Parents are not blameless in the results. Twenty percent of children had never received a book as a present yet 50 per cent of those surveyed said they liked reading a lot.

The use of technology may thought to have been an influence on the street cred of reading but the use of eBooks such as the Kindle were the least liked source of reading well behind email and text. National Literacy Trust director Jonathan Douglas said he was worried the youngsters who did read not for pleasure would “grow up to be the one in six adults who struggle with literacy”. He added: “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.”

Only so much can be done in the classroom. The love of books that nurtures creative writing skills can be supported by parents. Somehow we have to get children to see that a book for Christmas is far from the most boring present ever.

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