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The Works investigates why young children should be reading books rather than watching screens

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The Works has today launched an investigation into why reading books is better for young children’s development than watching screens. The online book retailer has recently noticed a significant increase in children’s books sales that relate to children’s television series including: Dr Seuss, Mr Men, Horrid Henry, Horrible Histories, Thomas The Tank Engine and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

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.

Child reading
Child reading

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.

-ENDS-

Notes to editor:
For more information on the investigation and tips on interactive ways for parents to share books with children please contact Sophie Tanner at Sophiet@propellernet.co.uk or 01273 760989

For a huge range of children’s books see: http://www.theworks.co.uk/Books/Childrens-Books/

* http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-19870199

Dr Sandra Williams is a Senior Lecturer at Brighton University and specialises in children’s literacy.

Conal Presho is Head of Development at the National Literacy Trust.

About The Works
The Works opened its first store in 1981 and now has a chain of 300 stores all across the United Kingdom. They are proud to be Britain's leading discount book store. They stock books, toys, gifts, stationery and arts & crafts at discount prices, and sell over one million products every week to consumers looking for great value prices.