When I was a child hanging around the house bored at the weekend, my Mum would always tell me to go read a book. To be honest, here was nothing else to do. We only had one television, I hated playing outside, wasn’t into drawing – no internet then – so I read. Visits to the library were frequent – every Saturday myself and my sister would head off down there and haul back a huge pile of books. I was a fast reader and liked nothing better than to go into the “grownup section’ of the library and chose a really long book. On a Sunday I read all day – read the Sunday papers from cover to cover and then hid myself away in a corner of our noisy house and escaped into a book.
These days kids have so many more things competing for their time and attention. Younger children have the endless channels of kids tv and more toys than I would have thought possible to own as a young child. As children get a bit older, other activities and a seemingly constant stream of “play dates” etc can get in the way of finding time to read outside of the dreaded school reading scheme book. Visits to the library are something I have to consciously make time for with my children. Our house is full of books though and my librarian mum brings books every time she comes to visit. We all love reading.
So E-books? What do we think about this format for children’s books? Does the ebook format do anything to promote reading amongst screen obsessed kids?
I read an interesting feature by the National Literacy Trust which did research that found that children are for the first time reading more on screen, than in actual physical books. It went on to say that children who read mainly on screen are likely to be worse readers than children who read mainly from books and are significantly less likely to enjoy reading. I find this interesting in that we have two kindles in our house loaded with children’s books. My children offered a choice, always go for a real book – when I asked them why they say ” it’s a real book – it’s nicer” “I like turning the pages over.” I do read books on a screen – kindle and ipad, but I really don’t like the electronic format as much as a physical book. There is one exception. An interactive children’s ipad book can be really amazing. Ibooks are a good way to capture children’s imagination, a different and exciting format to be used alongside real books.
It’s good news I feel that real books will continue to have place in our homes and classrooms - at least for now.