'Reading bedtime stories has become a 'dying art' as parents rely on gadgets to do the job for them, the Ofsted head will warn today.
Amanda Spielman, chief inspector of schools, will say the growing trend of families using Alexa speakers and iPads to entertain children before bed is 'depressing'.
She believes children get 'much more benefit' from interacting with parents than with a 'device or screen', and that listening to read-aloud stories is key to early child development.
In a speech to nursery leaders, she will warn that too many children are turning up to school without the vocabulary they need because of a lack of help at home.
Although she stresses that she does not want to criticise 'time-pressured families', she warns more needs to be done to support some pre-schoolers.
It comes after a study by children's charity BookTrust last month found more than a quarter of parents use home assistants such as Alexa, apps and voice notes to read bedtime stories.
Mrs Spielman will say: 'Listening to a well-read story is a joy most of us will remember from childhood.It's sensory, exciting. It helps to give children a love of reading and books, as well as some much-wanted attention. What toddler doesn't love cuddling up with a book?
'And it may be a dying art in some homes. According to a recent – and fairly depressing – report, some parents are delegating the task of bedtime story to digital assistants.'
She adds: 'A child is going to get so much more benefit from the interaction with mum, dad or someone else reading aloud than they would do from hearing words through a screen or device.'
Read more: Education watchdog fears reading bedtime stories has become a 'dying art' because parents rely on gadgets to do it for them
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