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Children watching more TV: poll

Children spend twice as much time watching TV than reading books, a survey suggests.

It reveals that many teachers believe youngsters' attention spans are shorter than ever before, and that more need to be done to encourage reading for pleasure.

The survey, commissioned by education firm Pearson to mark the launch of their Enjoy Reading campaign, found that parents say their child spends 44 minutes a day on average reading, and 90 minutes watching TV.

They also spend 42 minutes on average playing on a computer and 28 minutes on the internet.

It means that today's children spend three times as long in front of TV and computer screens than reading, the survey claims.

The poll found that almost four in five teachers (77%) say that on starting secondary school, pupils' attention spans in classroom are shorter than in the past, and 97% said parents need to do more to encourage their youngsters to read for pleasure at home.

Half (49%) of the parents surveyed said they read to their son or daughter every day, with 30% saying they do so once a week or less.

Pearson president Rod Bristow said: "Study after study has shown that reading for pleasure is a key indicator of future success for children, but demands on children's attention and the difficulty of inspiring reluctant readers mean many are missing out.

"The Enjoy Reading campaign is designed to support parents and schools to inspire children of all abilities into reading."

:: The poll questioned 2,008 parents of two- to 11-year-olds in August and 410 UK secondary school English teachers in March and April.

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