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Devices such as smartphones and tablet computers can provide a new and important route into reading for three- to five-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds, according to research by The National Literacy Trust and Pearson.

The findings show that poorer children benefit more from using books and touch-screens for sharing stories, than books alone. If they look at stories using books and touch screen, they are less likely to perform below the expected standard for their age than if they use books only. More advantaged children tend to perform at or above the expected standard for their age regardless of what they use to look at stories.

The research suggest that technology is playing a large role in the lives of under fives, with three-quarters of three- to five-year-olds having access to a touch screen at home. Of these, twice as many children of lower than higher socioeconomic status look at stories daily, despite children from poorer backgrounds having less access to touch screens at home than those from more privileged backgrounds.
Using technology to read stories can apparently lead to greater enjoyment of reading as well. Researchers found that children are more likely to enjoy reading if they use both books and a touch screen to look at stories, compared to books only.

The National Literacy Trust and Pearson are calling on parents and early years practitioners to recognise the advantages of technology to engage young children in reading stories and have published tips and advice to support reading with three to five-year-olds on a touch screen and in print.

Practitioners can find information on using technology to support children’s reading at: and parents can find hints and tips on how to help their children at:


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