London: A book publisher has launched a campaign to encourage children to take an interest in books after a survey found that modern life is hurting their concentration. The study of 400 English teachers and 2,000 parents of children up to primary school age revealed that TV, computer games and the demands of modern life are shortening children's attention span.

The result is that children are in danger of losing the joy of reading, said publisher Pearson, which commissioned the survey.

The study found that children spend three times more of their time in "on-screen" activity at home than they do looking at books.

And, while nearly half of parents say they read to their child every day, 30 per cent say they only read with or to their children once a week or less.

Pearson's "Enjoy Reading" campaign will offer thousands of free books to children and provide online ideas to whet their appetites while they are on the computer.

Broadcaster, author and mother Mariella Frostrup is the face behind the campaign, which will be working with a number of authors.

"As parents we can encourage our children to develop a love of reading from an early age but it can be challenging when there are so many demands on all of our attention," Sky News quoted Frostrup as saying.

"Putting great books in the formats that children enjoy and helping parents and teachers find new ways to inspire a love of reading in children of all abilities, is a vital job for the Enjoy Reading campaign," she noted.

Pearson's 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. Schools taking part in the campaign will be given the chance to win 100,000 online and hardback books.

(Agencies)

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