The Queen has expressed her anguish over the rising tendency among kids to be attracted more to ebook and playing games rather than reading real books. The queen’s concerns over the changing trend is understandable, now that she also has to assume the role of being a grandmother as well as a great-grandmother. However, the change is hardly surprising in the digital age that we live in where kids as young as just two years old have shown proficiency in handling tablet devices.
In an earlier survey, 38 and 61 percent of two- and three-year-olds respectively have shown a greater affinity to reading and learning via iPad. In another survey, about four percent of kids under three in the UK have been found to have a tablet exclusive to them, a figure which doubles to eight percent for three-year-olds. The figure is even higher at 19 percent for kids aged around 4 years. However, notwithstanding the rising popularity for tablet devices among children, a survey conducted by the National Literacy Trust has a rather gloomy forecast for the future, claiming those who are more prone to read off a screen have been found to possess weaker literacy skills.
What also can’t be ignored is the fact that the same tablet that the kids use to read books also serves as the device to watch videos or play games. The latter aspects definitely add to the distractions that children face while reading, something that is non-existent as long as they are reading printed books.
However, Viv Bird, the Chief Executive of Booktrust of which the Queen’s daughter-in-law, the Duchess of Cornwall, is a patron, is not too averse to the idea of children getting increasingly addicted to digital books.
“We feel that the important point is that children read, rather than how they go about doing so.
“Digital books are valuable as they offer an opportunity to engage new generations of readers – we have recently published a list of the best 100 books to read before the age of 14, many of which are now available digitally.
“We feel that children should be given the choice. Let’s give them both of these fantastic options to pick from and get them reading,” said Viv Bird.
The queen made the above comments while presenting an MBE to author Joanne Harris for her contribution to literature.
Off late, there have been a lot of efforts to getting people attracted to ebooks. B&N earlier launched the Get London Reading campaign, where publishers donated ebooks in order to make reading more affordable and accessible to the masses.