National spotlight on literacy in February
February marks the launch of ‘Raise a Reader’ – a national month-long campaign to inspire families to increase reading by their children, to improve their literacy skills.
‘Raise a Reader’ —launch by LiteracyPlanet in association with News Corp Australia — aims to spark a conversation that inspires parents and caregivers to encourage their children to read more, and highlights the benefits of reading and writing, supporting school programs and teachers.
LiteracyPlanet CEO, Adam McArthur, said: “We are proud to partner with News Corp Australia on this important initiative to raise readers around Australia. Literacy skills are essential building blocks of success in later life and a critical development skill for children.
“Our research shows that 86 per cent of parents are concerned about the development of their child’s literacy skills with parents of primary schoolers spending more than three hours a week with their children developing these skills.
“Reading is a not only a critical skill in itself, it’s a fundamental foundation for other important literacy skills like vocabulary, comprehension and grammar.
“LiteracyPlanet is passionate about creating an engaging online learning tool that help parents and teachers improve children’s literacy skills in a fun and easy way.”
Jackie French, incumbent Australian Children’s Laureate, and author of more than 170 books including famous children’s favourites Diary of a Wombat and Pete the Sheep is a 'Raise a Reader' ambassador.
Ms French said: “Reading is muscle building for the brain. If we want intelligent adults, give our kids books. If we want creative kids who'll work out how to mine the asteroids, give our kids books. If we want kids who learn to understand themselves as well as strangers, give kids books. Reading is the gateway for the future of our children, and our planet.”
News Corp Australia managing director for metro and regional publishing, Damian Eales, said: “February is a critical month on the national literacy calendar with over 3.5 million Australians returning to school. It is also the perfect time for parents and caregivers to start forming new habits about reading and writing in the home.
“Research continues to show that good reading and writing skills learned as a child are vital in setting up adults for future success."
As part of the campaign LiteracyPlanet has special trial offers for parents and teachers, available through its website at www.literacyplanet.com/reader.
LiteracyPlanet and News Corp Australia’s metro newspapers will also run a competition from Saturday, February 13, offering readers a chance to win $10,000 towards their children’s education expenses, or for teachers to use towards their school’s resources. Readers will be challenged to test their word building skills using LiteracyPlanet’s Word Mania game. The competition will run in The Daily Telegraph (NSW), Herald Sun (Vic.), The Courier Mail (Qld.), The Advertiser (SA) and The Sunday Times (WA).
LiteracyPlanet is also donating 500 annual family subscriptions for The Smith Family to give to families in need, and News Corp Australia is donating 10,000 books to early literacy initiative, Let’s Read, a partnership between Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and The Smith Family that promotes reading with children from birth to five years.
‘Raise a Reader’ runs until February 29.
Australian literacy statistics:
- Australia ranks 14th in terms of literacy ability in a global index, falling significantly from when the results were first surveyed in 2000.
- The ability of the best readers in Australia also fell by 5% between 2000 and 2012.
- 44% of Australians have literacy proficiency below a level set as the minimum to operate effectively in the workplace and society.
- 46% of Australians aged 15 to 74 years had very poor to poor ‘prose literacy’ (ability to read documents)
- The language skills of 6.8% of children in Australia are developmentally vulnerable.
- 86% of parents are concerned about the development of their child’s literacy skills with parents of primary schoolers spending more than three hours a week with their children on this.
- 95% of parents think online education programs are important.