Reading with children improves their literacy
More funding to support local libraries as research shows ‘almost one in four Queensland children does not know enough words on starting school’ and the government thinks many never catch up. To combat this ‘lag in learning’ the Queensland government has re-branded the ‘Best Start’ program to the ‘First Five Forever’ program where Queensland kids are given the best start to life with an early literacy program available in public libraries across the state.
Why is First 5 Forever important to Queensland?
The Australian Early Development Census data for 2012 shows that 26.2% of Queensland children are developmentally vulnerable or at risk on one or more developmental domains – including language and cognitive skills. Queensland ranks sixth behind the other states.
In Queensland approximately 36% of parents of 0–2-year-olds, and 52% of parents of 3–8-year-olds do not regularly read to their children 1, and current evidence suggests this role is not well understood by parents and caregivers of children aged 0–5 years in Australia.
The government claims that ‘busy working mums and dads are also time poor, with only 48 per cent of parents reading regularly to their three to eight year olds, but just 10 minutes a day can make all the difference’ and they are putting some big money behind their claims with $20 million program aimed at giving families the information, skills and tools they need to support their children in the development of early language and literacy at home.
The First 5 Forever initiative began in January 2015 and includes:
- Boosting funding to public programs in libraries, including baby bounce, rhyme time and storytelling sessions
- A literacy toolkit for parents and caregivers of young children
- A state-wide awareness campaign
- Enabling library staff to partner with local early childhood sector workers
- Central coordination, support and evaluation from the State Library of Queensland
There are about 68,000 children born in Queensland every year and research shows that investing in their education earlier is connected both to their future happiness and success.
According to the government sources they state ‘Queensland kids (are) behind other states when it comes to preparedness for school’, and they are aiming to change that for future generations.
Details about the Best Start program can be found at www.slq.qld.gov.au/best-start-qld
If your kids could really benefit from some interactive reading activities, perhaps Reading Eggs is what you’ve been looking for! We’ve got a comprehensive review of the program right here.