Today we have launched an exciting new online app guide for parents, which recommends the best apps to support the early language and communication skills of children under five.
LiteracyApps has been developed in collaboration with parents, teachers and academics. 100 apps are listed, broken down by age range, learning skill and app feature. Each app has been carefully selected using a quality framework and guidance on choosing apps is also available to parents on the website.
The literacyapps.org website has been launched as our latest early years report, The Use of Technology to Support Literacy in the Early Years in 2015, shows that almost all (97%) of families own touchscreens.
However, with this has come understandable concern about the impact that technology can have on young minds and the research indicates a need for advice for parents to help their children use technology in ways that will actively develop their early learning.
Our findings show that just 37.8% of parents say they use technology to look at stories in a typical week and parents support their children less actively when sharing stories on touchscreens. Only 51.7% talk about a story with their child when looking at a touchscreen compared to 80.1% when looking at a book.
We’ve produced a short film to guide parents on using touchscreens with their pre-school children and our Words for Life website offers parents age-specific guidance, tips and ideas for using technology at home.
Almost every family has a touchscreen at home so it is likely that young children will want to copy their parents when they see them using tablets and smartphones. However there is little guidance available for mums and dads who are unsure how to use technology in the most beneficial ways for their pre-school children. Although parents will naturally have concerns about screen time, technology can be used in positive ways alongside books to help children learn. “Our exciting new LiteracyApps guide, video and updated Words for Life website all offer parents tips on using technology to support their children’s early literacy development, which our research shows can particularly benefit boys and children from disadvantaged backgrounds.Charlotte Billington, our Early Years Project Manager