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


This September, as part of its annual Time to Read Campaign, BookTrust, 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. They are also encouraging parents to take time to read and share stories together to help children to understand the world around them, enabling them to figure out fact from fiction and allowing them to become more independent thinkers.  

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

BookTrust believes 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.

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 their children.”

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.”

For more information on BookTrust visit booktrust.org.uk/cymru