What chance does a child have if he or she grows up without the ability to read?
The statistics speak for themselves. The Programme for
International Student Assessment (PISA) indicated that 14 % of Australian
students aged 15 fail to reach a baseline level of reading proficiency
considered essential for future development and knowledge acquisition, and a
further 21% only reach the minimum baseline proficiency level.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics 2006 Adult
Literacy and Life Skills Survey (ALLS) revealed that Australian language,
literacy and numeracy levels have shown little improvement in the decade since
the 1996 International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS).
It found that approximately 7 million
Australian adults (46 per cent) had literacy scores below the minimum level
needed to function fully in life and work.
Ensuring all Australian kids reach an
appropriate level of literacy remains one of our major challenges.
Literacy is not just about reading it
is the foundation for learning. Literacy exerts a huge influence over a person’s
quality of life.
Dymocks Children’s Charities has developed a
unique literacy support project that encourages primary students to develop a
love for books and read every day for pleasure.
While our aims are relatively simple the results
can be profound transforming a child’s self-esteem and their entire relationship
with learning. We know that if a
child reads for pleasure every day they will improve their literacy and achieve
at a higher level in all subjects.
The Book Bank project draws upon overseas and
national experience of effective conditions for reading success, including:
• regular reading at school and home
• student choice of reading material
• student ownership
• student engagement and perceptions about reading.
The Book Bank project provides students in
priority schools from years 3 to 6 with a book of their choice every term.
The books are selected from the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge new release list and so we know that students will
find these titles interesting and relevant.