Kids prefer text messages to books

Or to put it another way: 'wh nds vwls whn txt ds th jb'
Kerry Butters
Kerry Butters -

Motorola Fire

A new study by the National Literacy trust shows that kids today prefer reading email, text and websites to books.

Girls are more likely to read in general and whilst at a young age this takes the form of comics and so forth, they switch to technology based reading as they get older.

The study found that the least popular form of reading is e-books, ironically enough, and those who do read are more likely to read online magazines than books. Boys are much more likely to be embarrassed if caught reading by their peers though and many wouldn’t even admit to owning books at home.

The survey was carried out across the UK and involved more than 18,000 pupils from a variety of ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. The questionnaire was evenly split between genders with the majority of pupils being between 11-13 years old.

Research has shown that the enjoyment of reading is directly linked with success, irrespective of the background of children. It is also thought that reading is important to a child’s personal development as it improves general knowledge and gives insight into human behaviour.

22% of those surveyed said that they enjoyed reading very much whilst 38% admitted to liking it “a bit”. 12% said that they did not enjoy it at all and 26% gave the vague answer that they liked it “quite a lot”.

Twice as many boys as girls said they didn’t like to read, and how much they enjoyed reading reduced when kids entered KS3 and 4.

Youngsters from poorer backgrounds don’t enjoy reading as much as wealthier children, and pupils from ethnic backgrounds were found to enjoy reading more as well as ‘better’ material such as poems and books.

The research found that there is a clear link between enjoyment and attainment, with those who like reading being more likely to achieve a good level of attainment. It was also found that in line with national figures, 8 out of 10 children read at the level expected for their age, some above.

Outside of class, technology-based reading was by far the medium of choice; text messages came out at the top with 59.8% of kids saying this was their preferred form. However, magazines came in second at 58.1%, with email and websites hot on their heels at 50% and 49.3% using them respectively.

E-books proved to be failing miserably for younger readers with only 5.6% of youngsters saying they use them.

Interestingly, it was found that when questioned what they considered to be ‘bad reading’, text messaging was considered to be the worst.

The research also showed that children who have access to reading materials at home are more likely to develop good reading skills. As is fairly obvious, having books and other text-based publications in the home is important to a child’s development.

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