Fake news not fooling kids who read, says BookTrust and leading developmental psychologist

Published on: 18 September 2018

Understanding imagery and identifying visual clues in illustrated books helps young children to make sense of wider topics as they get older – and is an important part of a child's development. 

In a world where advertising becomes ever more pervasive and fake news continues to infiltrate news sources at an alarming rate, children can often struggle to tell the difference between what’s real and what's not.

Having the ability to understand context and symbolism, and decode information, is crucial for young people if we want them to become active learners and help arm them against the barrage of fake news.

We believe that reading and sharing stories is vital for helping children think for themselves and encourage wider discussions. Illustrated books help children to develop free association, to understand inference and to create their own narratives rather than accepting things at face value. 

Pick up a picture book

This September, as part of our annual Time to Read Campaign, we –  alongside developmental psychologist Emma Kenny and leading children’s illustrators including Chris Riddell, Sarah McIntyre of the Pictures Mean Business campaign and Waterstones Children’s Laureate Lauren Child – are asking families to recognise the importance of illustrated books. We want them to take time to explore reading and sharing stories together to help children understand the world around them, figure out fact from fiction, and become more independent thinkers.  

Developmental psychologist Emma Kenny says: 

'I am thrilled to be working with BookTrust on their Time to Read campaign. Children’s brains start to develop at an early age, so it’s important we introduce them to activities that will stimulate them and help them to grow.
'Picture books are a subtle way to introduce ideas to children that will encourage them to start thinking independently and help them learn to understand subtext and meaning. Now more than ever, we need to arm children with the skills they need to figure out what’s going on around them and I’d urge parents across the country to pick up a picture book and get decrypting with your children.'

Have fun this autumn

This autumn, we are giving away over 700,000 copies of Little Monkey by author and illustrator Marta Altés to every reception-aged child in England. Little Monkey is a great book to get kids excited about reading. It’s filled with beautiful illustrations and lots of colourful pictures that give young readers hints to help encourage them to think outside the box to understand the unwritten dangers in the story.

Diana Gerald, CEO of BookTrust says:

'Illustrated books are a wonderful resource for children to help them develop key skills, build their confidence and grow their imagination. Visual clues in the story can help them to decipher meaning and encourage them to engage with the narrative on their own terms, beyond just the words.
'Little Monkey is a heart-warming tale about a brave and curious monkey who is fed up of being told she’s too small to go on adventures: something that many young ones will no doubt relate to. It’s the perfect picture book for families to have fun with this autumn.'

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Topics: Time to Read, News

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Time to Read

Time sharing stories is time well spent. We want parents and carers to keep reading to their child, even once they've reached primary school or started to read on their own.

If you read books together, it's a great way to bond, talk about the day, and have a lot of fun!

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