Those quiet moments spent reading with a baby or toddler may be more than just a pleasant memory for you both. Research here and overseas has repeatedly shown that reading with a young child is a powerful predictor of their future success in reading and writing and in education generally.
Raising Literacy Australia has long been in the business of getting books into the hands of young children and their families and their most recent venture, Read to Me, has a special focus on children who are in state care.
Starting October 2015 all children in care from birth to five years have received a package of books carefully selected for their age group and delivered to their door.
‘Families SA has been very supportive while keeping children’s details confidential,’ explains Raising Literacy Australia’s Michelle Littleboy.
‘They let us know the ages of children, and the number of packs and then coordinated the deliveries to the right addresses.
‘After the first delivery, we then provide a top-up pack every few months and, of course, starter packs to new children coming into care.
‘The next round of deliveries will be in March,’ she said.
Many carers and foster parents have written to express their appreciation.
‘My husband and I are foster parents and today our foster son received a pack of books from yourselves. We just wanted to say thank you and what an awesome initiative. He was delighted to receive them all and immediately sat and read/had them read to him with/by his older brothers. It was lovely to see them all enjoying the new books.’
‘We’ve had many phone calls from grateful carers and foster parents too and even some happy tears,’ said Michelle.
‘The project is funded by the South Australian Government with great support from Variety the Children’s Charity of South Australia and Cochrane’s Transport. Support from children’s publishers across Australia has helped us to buy books very economically.’
Raising Literacy Australia is confident that they are in this for the long run.
‘We will really see the true benefit of this project when this generation of children are starting to sit down to read with their own children,’ said Michelle.
Raising Literacy Australia is the overarching organisation best known by The Little Big Book Club Program. Information on its variety of initiatives can be found at its website.
This article originally appeared in the February 2016 edition of the Guardian’s Newsletter.