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Is Twitter Distracting School Kids From Their Books?

A new survey shows that students in the UK are reading less – and the culprit might just be Twitter.

As reported in the Telegraph, reading among school-age kids has severely declined in recent years.

Part of the cause of the aversion to books may be Twitter and other social networks. Schoolchildren are significantly more likely to be exposed to computers and smartphones in their homes than novels.

The study, conducted by the National Literacy Trust, surveyed more than 18,000 children ages eight to 17.

It found that UK children were more inclined to read tweets, or text-based messages, rather than books. After text messages, emails were named as the second most popular reading material, and messages on social networking sites were names as the third.

The trend of replacing books with text messages, emails and social networking among UK youth is worrisome to the Trust’s director:

“We are worried that they will grow up to be the one in six adults who struggle with literacy to the extent that they read to the level expected of an 11 year–old or below.”

It’s not surprising that kids are being exposed to technology over books in the home, and that this is affecting their literacy rates. Children grow up learning how to type rather than write in cursive. They’re tweeting more often than reading Shakespeare.

Maybe we’ll see a fusion between technology like Twitter and literacy in order to excite youth about reading. There are already groups tweeting great works of literature, so it’s only a matter of time before schools catch on.

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