Screens make it ‘harder for children to read’, says author Cressida…

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The award-winning writer of the How To Train Your Dragon series said that television and computer games have made youngsters more dependent on visual activity than when she was their age.

The 56-year-old ex-Children’s Laureate wrote in Teach Primary magazine: “Making a book that a child of today will read with the same amount of pleasure that I read books with when I was a kid is rather trickier than it sounds.

“When I was a child, the telly was terrible. There was no internet, no PlayStation. Now the telly is glorious…and it is magically ‘beamed’ into children’s heads without them having to do anything, whereas books can become associated with school and hard work.

“If a child has dyslexia, it can be worse…books can sometimes come to represent something that actively makes the child feel stupid, and how on earth can you love something that makes you feel stupid? So I have to work very, very hard…and make sure that the stories are worth the effort the child has to put in.

“Children today are very visual [all that screen time], and you do have to bear that in mind when you are writing and make sure that the story whips along at a cracking pace.”

She added: “Children may be more impatient than when I was a kid, but they certainly aren’t less intelligent.”

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