Children who read on an iPad or Kindle are falling behind in the classroom as figures showed for the first time the majority of youngsters now prefer ebooks to printed versions.
The advance of technology means that young people who read on a screen have weaker literacy skills and fewer children now enjoy reading, experts have said.
A survey, conducted by The National Literacy Trust, found that 52 per cent of children preferred to read on an electronic device – including e-readers, computers and smartphones – while only 32 per cent said they would rather read a physical book.
Worryingly, only 12 per cent of those who read using new technology said they really enjoyed reading, compared with 51 per cent of those who favoured books.
Pupils who get free school meals, generally a sign they are from poorer backgrounds, are the least likely group to pick up a traditional book, the research found.
The poll of 34,910 young people aged between eight and 16 across the UK found that those who read printed texts were almost twice as likely to have above-average reading skills as those who read on screens every day.