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Digital technology and the early years

Added 09 Aug 2017
early years tablet

Technology, including tablets and smart phones, can play a role in supporting early communication, language and literacy. It can offer new learning opportunities, such as interactive and intuitive story telling ebooks and apps, and online video calling.

We strongly advise that, just like a book, technology is used as a tool for learning and play rather than as a replacement for adult interaction.

Our research 
shows that, when used appropriately, technology can be an important route in to reading for certain groups of children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds and boys.

For parents

Our Words for Life website has advice and tips for parents on how to use technology with their child in the early years.


Our Literacy Apps website also helps parents find the right apps to help children develop good communication and literacy skills. It includes apps recommended by us, searchable by age, and has top tips and advice on how to choose a good quality app yourself. Using tablets to support communication, language and literacy for guidance on how parents can use a tablet to support their child’s early communication, language and literacy.

Watch this video for guidance on how parents can use a tablet to support their child’s early communication, language and literacy.

For early years practitioners 

This range of videos and the resources on the right, created in partnership with Harrington Nursery Schools in Derby, will help early years practitioners plan for using digital technology effectively: 





These videos also complement our HELLO improvement framework which helps early years settings improve their communications, language and literacy provision.