Technology can fuel storytelling claims new study

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If children spend more time using screens, does that mean they’re missing out on traditional stories? A new study by the UK’s National Literacy Trust provides some more thoughts on the topic.

Together with Pearson, the charity surveyed 1,300 British parents, and found that 74.1% of them feel they are confident using technology to share stories with their young children – not far behind the 78.1% who say they’re confident using books.

That’s good, but there’s a sting in the tail. According to the survey, only 57.1% of parents talking about a story with their child when it’s on a touchscreen, compared to 80.1% who do so when it’s a book.

“Almost every family has a touchscreen at home so it is likely that young children will want to copy their parents when they see them using tablets and smartphones,” said the charity’s early years project manager Charlotte Billington.

“However there is little guidance available for mums and dads who are unsure how to use technology in the most beneficial ways for their pre-school children.”

More stats? 96.7% of surveyed parents said they have a touchscreen device at home – a smartphone and/or a tablet – but of those, 37.8% said that their children use it to look at or read stories in a typical week, while 4.6% do so every day.

There is some interesting detail on the parents who say their children don’t use touchscreen devices for stories. The most common answer was “I prefer to use real books” or a variant on it, although “books are for stories, iPad is for games” and similar answers were also quite popular.

The National Literacy Trust has launched a new guide to apps that might help children develop their early communication, language and literacy skills, which it hopes will be a useful resource for parents.

We regularly review story-book apps here on Apps Playground too: check out our book-apps section for the latest articles.

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