Start the school year with a reading routine

Making time to read regularly with your children is an important part of literacy development, according to the State Library of Victoria's Rebecca Henson.

 'Reading, as well as listening, speaking and writing, are fundamental to the development of literacy skills, including vocabulary and language development,' Rebecca says.

'The key is to have a regular routine for reading together at a time that suits you both.

Claiming even 10 minutes a day for reading together has been shown to make a difference.'

'If you can manage more time, that's great - as long as it's a positive experience.'

Rebecca says it helps to have books that match your children's interest, whether they are purchased, borrowed from friends or from the library.

'Children often take their cues from their parents,' Rebecca says.

'For this reason, it's important for adults to display a positive attitude towards reading - most easily expressed through being seen to spend time enjoying reading.'

Rebecca reminds parents that reading can be a part of social and community activities. Some schools and public libraries run book clubs for children, and book shops hold book launches and author events. Attending these events is a great way to create a more positive association with reading.

Victorian Premiers' Reading Challenge

Launching soon in Term 1, the Victorian Premiers' Reading Challenge inspires young readers from Prep to Year 10 to challenge themselves to read more and read widely. It encourages a reading routine, for children to challenge themselves and connect to their peers.

The Challenge is also open to babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers. Parents are encouraged to read to their children from birth.

'The Premiers' Reading Challenge encourages children to read books for pleasure, which is beneficial for personal development and educational purposes,' Rebecca says.

'While the challenge component provides an incentive and a sense of achievement, children can read at their own pace and explore the categories to find topics and genres of interest.'

You can speak with your child's school about registering for the Premiers' Reading Challenge in 2018.

The State Library of Victoria runs the Centre for Youth Literature to provide interesting resources, activities and support for teen readers.