Shocking research has revealed that over two-thirds of children did not read a single book during the summer holidays.
A survey by online stockists The Book People found that 75 per cent of kids spent more than an hour each day playing on a smartphone or tablet instead of reading.
Three-quarters of the 1,000 parents quizzed said they thought their child read less often than they would do during the school term.
The bookseller has now launched a competition to encourage youngsters to develop their writing skills as the new academic year begins.
Potential authors aged 5-11 are being given the chance to have their ideas for an animal-themed picture book brought to life. The winner’s story will be illustrated professionally by Ada Grey, published and sold on the Book People’s website. Proceeds will be donated to the charity Action for Children.
TV presenter Fearne Cotton is the star name on a panel of expert judges.
“Reading to my kids at bedtime is the most brilliant part of my day - I love seeing how stories fuel their imaginations. This competition not only encourages children to be creative, but gives them the chance to be a published author,” said Fearne, who has two children.
The store’s website will also include tips and ideas from successful authors to help inspire young writers. The prize package includes £250 worth of book tokens and vouchers for the child’s school.
The deadline is October 24 and children can enter at www.thebookpeople.co.uk/bedtime.