Sitting with your new baby, opening a book and reading to them is one of the simplest yet most powerful ways to give them the best start to life.
Premiers' Reading Challenge for the Early Years
Research shows that regular reading with young children from birth gives them a leg up in life by improving school outcomes, instilling a lifelong love of reading and sparking imagination.
To reinforce this important message, the theme of this year’s annual Premiers’ Reading Challenge for the Early Years is ‘Share a Book Today’.
Share a Book Today
Someone who loves sharing books with her granddaughter Scarlett is retired teacher librarian Joan Marantelli.
'I just love having that special time with her, it’s a one-on-one time'
“It’s that physical closeness and she’s so engaged in what she’s looking at … she gets so excited when she recognises animals or different things on the page, and she’s really responsive. It’s such a joy to be part of that,” Joan says.
As part of the Challenge, families and early childhood educators are being encouraged to help children who have not yet started school to experience 40 books before September.
'It's a very calming activity, especially as you’re trying to get children to settle down and go to sleep. As I say, it’s just a wonderful time of sharing'
Research tells the story
Findings of the Early Language in Victoria Study, a joint research project involving the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and a number of Australian universities, show that reading to children from a young age results in higher rates of literacy, and better spelling and cognitive skills during the first years of school.
This builds on existing evidence that shows how often a child is read to has a direct link to their success at school, regardless of their family background or home environment.
How to register
More than 8,000 children and families participated in last year’s Premiers’ Reading Challenge for the Early Years, reading more than 265,800 books.
To register your child, see:
Premier's Reading Challenge Early Years or visit their childcare service.
The 2017 Challenge closes 8 September, with more than 2000 books, see: Early Years Booklist