Froma a Guardian Ebooks post by Anna Baddely:
Research recently published by the National Literacy Trust and educational publisher Pearson shows that among low-income families, technology can be a “more engaging learning tool” for three- to five-year-olds than books. Boys were twice as likely as girls to spend more time with stories on touch screens than printed stories.
Early years are the vital time to get hooked on books. As boys get older, quiet reading takes a back seat to friends, homework, sports and computer games. Children’s author Jeff Norton was himself a “game-obsessed… very reluctant reader” as a youngster. His popular series MetaWars was deliberately conceived to be as immersive and addictive as a video game. Former teacher (and keen gamer)Simon Scarrow’s novels about Roman gladiators Cato and Macro have been wildly successful, and have now inspired a free app game. With the ability to unlock book extracts, it’s a clever way of connecting with reluctant readers.
Tempting boys into fiction isn’t just about building literacy skills for the sake of passing tests: it’s about developing empathy and encouraging escapism. Novels, according to Scarrow, “offer a far greater degree of creative action for a reader and therefore [a] greater sense of immersion”.