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Every other day, it seems, there is a media item about the modern child's adddiction to electronic entertainment. With television, smartphones and tablets on offer they don't have either the concentration or the inclination to read a book. Books, by comparison with the excitements of technology, have allegedly lost their enchantment.
At least we have one future customer. In fact, more than one. My small grandson, a robust little boy – and we all know what that means – has even so always been so addicted to stories that his nursery had to make a deal with him that when he had had two he must go and do a different activity before he would be allowed to have another one.
Of course, the effect was to make stories more desirable than ever. Whether it's really the story itself – and in the case of the little boy who cries, it certainly seems to be – or the adult attention and cuddles that go along with the reading, it's hard to say, but there's no doubt that it's the best way to instill in a child the instinct that books are a Good Thing.
I was talking the other day to a first year primary school teacher who works in a school in one of our poorest areas and it was one of the saddest things I've ever heard; there are children coming into her class who don't know their own name, and have to be taught to speak, because their parents have never engaged with them.
Sometimes it's a problem of drink or drugs, sometimes it's just a teenage parent who has no proper experience of mothering herself, but the child will have spent its infancy in front of a TV screen with a dummy in its mouth to keep it quiet.
Recent research shows that success in adulthood can be predicted from the age of two by a child's interest in books.
So I hope the parents of the baby who cries with disappointment when the story is finished keep reading – even though it may seem a long five years before he's able to do it for himself..