The Works have recently announced that they are going to be conducting an investigation into why children reading books is going to be better for them than staring at screens. The company are an online book retailer and they have said that book sales for children that are related to television programmes have increased massively over previous years, which shows that having reading material supplement the television can be a good idea for children.
In light of recent controversy over the psychological and physical damage that watching TV can cause young children*, The Works has interviewed professionals in the field, including children’s literacy expert, Dr Sandra Williams, and the National Literacy Trust, to establish the benefits of reading books.
Dr Sandra Williams said: “Reading a book, together with the tactile turning of the page is pleasurable and a good picture book has qualities that may not be found in electronic media. What is important is the construction of the child and many good quality picture books invite active participation and involvement. Significantly the authors/illustrators leave gaps for the readers to fill. There is a tension between text and picture which invites consideration.”
The Works hopes that the printed book will survive the digital revolution. Reading doesn’t provide ready-made answers; it leaves room for imagination and extended periods of focus. This is increasingly important in today’s multi-media world, in which the over-abundance of information can be heavily distracting.
Conal Presho, Head of Development at the National Literacy Trust, agrees: “Only time will tell if print books will be excluded from children’s reading altogether, although it seems unlikely…there is an inherent value in a book as a physical item, particularly when given as a present. We are also very aware that print books are currently much more accessible to those from disadvantaged backgrounds and printed books can be more easily shared or passed on from child to child.”
The Works is keen to promote the exploration of words, sounds, stories and writing amongst young children and will continue working alongside experts and parents to ensure the rightful survival of the book.