A shorter attention span threatens the enjoyment of reading, suggesting that children need more support from parents and teachers in developing a love of reading.
The report found that 91 per cent of teachers say that children’s attention spans are shorter than ever before in the classroom, on starting secondary school, with 97 per cent saying parents need to do more to encourage reading for pleasure at home.
The figures, which were taken from research commissioned by learning company Pearson, asked 400 English teachers and 2000 parentsof pre and primary aged children from across the UK, about their children’s reading habits.
It revealed that children are spending three times as much of their time participating in ‘on screen’ activity at home, compared to reading traditional Books, according to parents. This includes watching 90 minutes of TV, playing on the computer for 42 minutes and going online for 28 minutes compared to just 44 minutes a day reading.
A fifth of parents waited until their child was two-years old or older before reading their first book to them and shockingly, more than 1 in 10 parents said they read with their children less than once every six months or never and one in six admits that they never read a bedtime story to their children.
Furthermore, half of parents in the UK were reading to their child every day, but thirty per cent admitted that they only read with their child once a week or less. Nearly all (94 per cent) teachers said that children don’t spend enough time reading for pleasure outside of the classroom and that children prefer spending time online rather than reading traditional Books, resulting in 84 per cent of teachers saying that they needed tools to help encourage reading online.
In response, Pearson has yesterday launched a national ‘Enjoy Reading’ campaign designed to inspire more children to develop an early life-long love of reading, taking advantage of children’s interest in being online.
Putting great books in the formats that children enjoy and helping parents and teachers find new ways to inspire a love of reading in children of all abilities, is a vital job for Enjoy Reading...
A new national reading competition for schools, a new Enjoy Reading hub for parents, thousands of free books for children and innovative new ways to inspire more children to read for pleasure both on and offline are all ways that the campaign will help more children love reading.
Backed by broadcaster Mariella Frostrup, the Enjoy Reading campaign sees Pearson working with a range of authors and partners on a wide ranging action plan designed to get more children enjoying reading at home, as well as in the classroom.
Broadcaster and mother, Mariella Frostrup, said: “As parents we can encourage our children to develop a love of reading from an early age but it can be challenging when there are so many demands on all of our attention.
“Putting great books in the formats that children enjoy and helping parents and teachers find new ways to inspire a love of reading in children of all abilities, is a vital job for the Enjoy Reading campaign,” she said.
President of Pearson, Rod Bristow, said: “Study after study has shown that reading for pleasure is a key indicator of future success for children, but demands on children’s attention and the difficulty of inspiring reluctant readers mean many are missing out.
“The Enjoy Reading campaign is designed to support parents and schools to inspire children of all abilities into reading. We are also working with authors and experts on finding effective and innovative new ways of using technology, to help children develop a lifelong love of reading,” he added.
Pearson’s Enjoy Reading campaign will help more children develop their enjoyment of reading by:
Increasing access to books and normalising enjoyment of reading
- Inspiring children of all abilities in primary school into reading more, by winning 100,000 free books, provided by Pearson in online and traditional formats to schools, as part of a new national ‘Read for My School’ challenge, run in partnership with Booktrust and DfE
- Giving away 1.4 million inspiring books to all families with reception age children in England and Wales over the next 12 months as part of Booktime, run in conjunction with Booktrust
Giving parents support and advice and putting books in the formats children enjoy
- Launching a new Enjoy Reading website with tips and advice from experts and famous authors on how to make reading enjoyable, and set the habit early
- Delivering a free parents guide and specially designed free e-books that children can read on-screen, with expert advice on how to help kids enjoy reading and a new digital searchcloud to help identify the books to inspire them
Delivering innovative new ways for schools to inspire children into reading
- Piloting the power of plays and their ability to help children develop their literacy skills in the classroom thanks to a specially commissioned project with top children’s author, of The Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson.
- Working with playwright and Professor of Reading Frank Cottrell-Boyce, on the Heroes series of books, weaving captivating fiction with state-of-the-art digital teaching resources to inspire even the most reluctant reader and take advantage of children’s love of going online.
Viv Bird, Chief Executive at Booktrust, said: “Over the years Booktrust’s national schools programmes and resources - including Booktime - have proved to be invaluable in helping pupils become enthusiastic and confident readers, so critical for their personal and educational development. With the launch of Read for My School - part of Pearson's wider 'Enjoy Reading' campaign - we have the chance to build on that success and really crack the challenge of helping all children to enjoy reading.”