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Why more parents should read with their children, says Elmer author David McKee

Elmer artist David McKee visited Ipswich and signed books Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Elmer artist David McKee visited Ipswich and signed books Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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In today's modern world, it can be easy to teach children all they need to know using a tablet or a phone. But the author who inspired the stunning Ipswich Elmer trail has encouraged the town's parents to read old-fashioned books to their children - to help create the stars of tomorrow.

David McKee said he was left "speechless" the Elmer's Big Parade when he toured the decorated elephants stationed around the town during his visit to Ipswich on Thursday, July 4.

The 84-year-old said he was proud of the project inspired by his famous character, with children able to complete a sticker and activity book as well as physically tour the elephants - all in aid of St Elizabeth Hospice.

But asked whether parents and teachers should be putting emphasis on more traditional forms of reading in the high-tech, modern world, Mr McKee said: "There's something intimate about a book.

"Just feeling the paper and the smell - physically, you get involved in it.

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"Children's books produce a passion to read and a love of that."

He added that children's books have an even stronger benefit when parents read them with their children, with not only youngsters not only improving their literacy but parents learning more about their children by spending time with them.

"You can't just give the job to machines," he said.

"It is a shared moment and both sides learn from that."

The Elmer trail runs until September 7.

Sticker and activity books are available from the EADT and Ipswich Star office in Princes Street.

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