Saturday 26 January 2013

The Works campaign to get kids away from screens and into books

Save yourself some cash by buying books for your children instead of the latest expensive computer games and gadgets. That's the latest advice from booksellers The Works, who say that there is evidence to suggest that reading books is actually better for young children’s development than watching screens. They're booksellers so they would say that, obviously, but they have also 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.”

Here at The Madhouse, we love reading and have a huge collection of books of all types that really appeal to the kids - picture books, flap books, touchy-feely books, noisy books, Story Buddies, even a book with a track for a wind-up fire engine to scoot round ! Even on a busy day, we always like to snuggle up together for a story at bedtime to spend some quality time together to end the day. It's a good time to catch up on cuddles, have some distraction-free time for talking about anything (seemingly) important and end on a positive note if it's been a day of frayed tempers and tantrums.

That's not to say that the Madhouse Mini-testers never get screen time. As a bilingual family, it's important to use TV and DVDs as a way of keeping in touch with the spoken word in both languages and the iPad is very handy for keeping Pierre entertained while I help the girls with their homework. He needs me to read to him but is capable of opening and playing with an app all by himself. Although he has started "reading" books by himself now too, turning the pages and repeating bits of the text that he can remember me reading to him !

To encourage us to get away from the screens and into a good book, The Works sent us a fabulous Disney 365 Stories for Girls compendium. It has a one-page story for every day of the year, many of which relate to the particular date (Christmas, New Year, etc). We've only read a few stories so far because the Madhouse Mini-testers want to respect the date attributed to each story, but I've had a flick through and there are lots of tales of the Disney Princesses but also many other popular characters, both from the old classics and the newer Disney releases. (There's a boy's version available too - although I'd have preferred a unisex one, to be honest.)

If you think you haven't got the time or energy after a long day at work to read to your kids, this is the ideal book because you are limited to one page so there are no "just one more page Mum, pleeeeease" comments and you always know exactly where you need to pick back up. It literally takes a couple of minutes and I find it's a really important part of the bedtime routine, getting the kids into the right mindset for sleep. I know that I always love to read at least a few pages before I go to sleep to help me wind down and switch off, so maybe the kids are the same. I know they've certainly inherited my love of reading, which I'm really proud of.

Disclosure : We received a Disney 365 Stories For Girls book from The Works in order to get away from the screens and tell you about their campaign. 

The book has a RRP of £9.99 but is only £4.99 at The Works (

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Kids' Audio Book Review : Myro Arrives in Australia - Nick Rose

1 comment:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...