Reading just ten minutes a day can instill a lifelong love of books and learning in young children. Research shows that children who are read to every day from an early age have extended vocabularies, increased reading readiness and improved cognitive skills when they enter school.
As part of Children’s Week, State Library Victoria and Public Libraries Victoria Network launches the first statewide roll-out in Australia of the international 1000 Books Before School library campaign, designed to work with families to promote early literacy skills, and to combat the scourge of adult illiteracy in our communities.
“The ability to read is an essential life skill for everyone, and a child’s development in the early years is so important. Through this reading initiative, public libraries can empower parents to be effective first teachers, and prepare their children for school,” said Kate Torney, CEO, State Library Victoria.
The State Library along with 200 participating public libraries across Victoria are implementing this early literacy initiative to engage parents in reading 1000 books with their children from birth until they begin school. This campaign calls for families to provide positive and nurturing early learning experiences by sharing stories with their children every day.
“Public libraries play a vital role in supporting families with their children’s early literacy. We’re delighted that this program encourages parents across Victoria to read to their kids regularly, and help them to develop a love of language and reading,” said Jenny Ruffy, Vice President, Public Libraries Victoria Network.
A child’s brain goes through an amazing period of development in the pre-school years. Studies have shown that by age three, the brain has reached 80% of the adult size. Early literacy forms the basis for future learning that can last a lifetime.
“As a mum, I’ve read to each of our three children from the day they were born, which undoubtedly has shaped their love of books. This wonderful initiative is all about giving Victorian kids the best start in life and I’m delighted to be involved,” said Catherine Andrews, historian and wife of Premier Daniel Andrews.
Through the 1000 Books Before School program, Victorian public libraries will support reader and literacy development by providing families with a framework and incentives to encourage a reading habit, and a love of stories in young children.
1000 Books Before School is designed to encourage reading and contribute to building confidence in children from birth to five years and their parents and caregivers. The program will complement existing early years reading and literacy programs such as story times, baby rhyme times, and support the Premier’s Reading Challenge.
1000 Books Before School is a joint initiative of State Library Victoria and Public Libraries Victoria Network.
Parents and caregivers who wish to participate in the program should register at their local library throughout Victoria.