Creating little readers from birth to year one

Inspire your children to be keen readers during the Premiers’ Reading Challenge. 

In 2013, the Victorian Premiers’ Reading Challenge (PRC) expanded to include children from birth to age five to support parents and early childhood educators with reading more books with their child. 

Reading with mum, dad, grandparents and teachers

Chang and Crick family
Parents Jing and Daniel read to their daughter Isabelle

Mother Jing Chang has read to her daughter Isabelle since she was born and registered for the PRC this year. Isabelle’s favourite books are lift-the-flap or touch-and-feel books. 

‘Even though Isabelle is only 10 months old, she already shows a preference for favourite books and authors,’ Jing says. ‘She studies the colourful illustrations and she seems to remember books and where to lift the flap when an exciting page is coming up.’ 

Jing and her husband Daniel read with Isabelle two or three times a day. They hope to give her a life-long love of reading by exposing her to books from an early age. Isabelle’s grandparents also read to her when they visit.

Roda Mohamed has also read with her daughter Maida from birth. Since registering her for PRC last year, Maida is trying to read books by herself.

‘She always asks me to get books for her to read and gets excited when I do,’ Roda says. 

Maida’s Foundation teacher Kate Lawrie reads to Maida and her classmates at Abbotsford Primary School every day. Kate has been involved in the PRC for four years. She enjoys discussing new words and is always surprised by her students’ input. She reads a variety of stories to create opportunities for creative and diverse responses. 

‘After participating in the PRC, some students have shown signs of being more motivated to read and add books to their list,’ Kate says. ‘Parents have also shown increased levels of interest in getting their children to read at home.’

Last year, over 9,000 pre-school children completed the Challenge in Victoria by experiencing 40 books with their parent or carer. 

Tips for engaging readers

Jing, Kate and parents at Abbotsford Primary School have shared their personal tips on reading with young children: 

  1. Choose books with bright colours and illustrations to read with your child.  
  2. Read in funny voices, such as making animal sounds.
  3. Make reading a special and fun time with your child.
  4. Read out loud and let your child follow along by tracking words with their finger.
  5. Let your child flip the pages of the books or touch the pages if they see something of interest.
  6. Re-read some pages from a book that they read the night before.
  7. Buy books that they like.
  8. Take your child to the library regularly and have outings to the library with their friends. 
  9. Set reading time in your child’s daily routine.
  10. Choose books with different characters for diversity.
  11. Encourage your child to recognise letters and sounds.
  12. Display books in easy reach of your child.
  13. Read books that are bilingual if you speak a different language at home. 
  14. For slightly older kids, discuss new words and ideas. 

PRC resources are available

For book lists, checklists, posters and other resources, see Premiers Reading Challenge