Building literacy the aim of library program
With reports showing one in five Australian school children are starting school “developmentally vulnerable” in at least one area, Goodstart Labrador Olsen Ave
has started a library to increase rates of literacy.
The report, commissioned by the Australian government, found one in five school children started school vulnerable in at least one area such as language, cognitive skills or communication.
Labrador Olsen Avenue centre director Heidi Graham said she was well aware of the benefits of reading to children.
“I have two children of my own, Imogen who is seven years old, and Evelyn who is three, and from a very early age I used to read to them,” Ms Graham said.
“They have both become very confident with their words, and with talking to adults and making friends and that’s the result of reading so much.”
Ms Graham came up with the idea of the library, where children have their own library cards, and receive stickers when they borrow books, after a visit from the Gold Coast Council library van.
“That was a hit so I decided from there I’d set up the library. It’s not huge but the children are really enjoying taking books home to read and share with their parents,” she said.
When the children have 10 stickers on their library cards, they are allowed to choose a gift including bubbles, a slinky, books or pens.
“We find the children really want to do a lot of reading and we’ve developed a poster encouraging parents to read the books to their children. It boosts confidence, helps build confidence and extends their vocal knowledge.”
A University of Queensland study shows the single most important determinant for a child’s success at school is how much they are exposed to reading from a young age.
“Even if they don’t know what the words are, looking at pictures and inventing their own stories can help,” Ms Graham said.
Benefits of reading to your child:
- Children love it when you spend time with them and cuddling up with a good book is the perfect way to do it.
- Reading can calm children down when they’re having trouble sleeping, or after a big day.
- It promotes communication between you and your child.
- It can help increase the literacy of pre-school children.
- Reading can help build listening skills and imagination, increases a child’s knowledge, and assists in building thinking skills early.