25 Aug 2011

Social media preferred to books by young in UK

3:48 pm on 25 August 2011

Youngsters in Britain are ditching Dickens, Shakespeare and Keats for Facebook and Twitter.

A survey has found one in six failing to read a single book in a month. It also showed less than half read a book outside of class.

Their exposure to the written word arises mostly from sending messages via texting, emails, and social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

The poll in which 18,141 children aged eight to 17 were questioned, was carried out for the National Literacy Trust.

''Getting these children reading and helping them to love reading is the way to turn their lives around and give them new opportunities and aspirations,'' said trust director Jonathan Douglas in a statement.

He said the trends highlighted could have significant consequences for the children as they enter adulthood.

''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,'' Mr Douglas said.