Why your donor dollars matter…
Child Writes and now the Child Writes Foundation has been beating the drum for improvements with children’s literacy over the last decade, having envisaged and created the Child Writes program, guiding children through the process of creating their own picture book. It is all the incidental outcomes which have resonated – seeing the delight children have with reading work created by their peers, the young authors and illustrators having a substantial increase in their self-efficacy, and most importantly, the sense of pride they have with having achieved something monumental.
Still, there is something missing on the landscape.
It was evident from studies conducted in 2006, that ‘For the nearly half of Australia’s adult population who lack minimum literacy skills, reading for pleasure may not be possible. This not only prevents them from partaking of one of life’s great joys – a ‘good read’ – but means that they are unable to access sources of knowledge and learning through reading. The National Year of Reading (2012) is highlighting the joy of reading and the benefits of fostering a love of books. It is also bringing into focus the role of Australian libraries in working with communities to encourage reading and to promote literacy.
Participants in the studies were rated on their skill level, graded from 1 to 5. Individuals with a skill level for prose literacy below 3 are considered to lack the minimum skills required to meet the complex demands of everyday life and work in the emerging knowledge-based economy. ALLS showed that almost half (46%) of all Australians aged 15 and over did not meet this requirement.’
Again, there is something horribly amiss! With incredible organisations like the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation; Room to Read; and the Indigenous Literacy Foundation; Simultaneous Storytelling, etc, there alreaady is an incredibly strong push to improving the literacy standards across the community.
So what is missing? Maybe the voices of children? It is a child’s right to be safe, to be housed, clothed and fed. We say it is also their right to be educated. This means it is also their right to learn how to read, and this means being read to.
We intend on leading INTERNATIONAL READ TO ME DAY – March 19th, every year, giving children the megaphone they need so they demand to be read to regularly!
We respect our children if we listen to our children.
If we respect our children, we protect our children.
Why we may not read to our children – parents are human too!:
1. Exhausted parents / carers
2. Inability to read themselves or no books available
3. Too busy with the nighttime routine
4. Shift workers – and mismatched routines
5. Other family members demanding what little time is spare
This is by no means a definitive list, but it is realistic. The most dedicated parents / carers in the world will not have a 100% reading rate – routines buckle, time constrains are a truism, and sometimes, you just don’t feel like it!
If a child comes to school and says:
‘Everyone was too tired’
‘We don’t have any books at home’
‘It was so busy at home last night’
‘My father works nights’
‘My baby brother was crying’
Then it is simply the way of the world and this merely identifies a gap to be filled the following day. After all, it takes a village to raise a child!
Empowering Children to take the initiative…
We want children to understand they can ask to be read to. Picture this: a classroom teacher asks ‘Who read to you last night?’ and there are various responses from classmates, ‘My mother / my brother / my aunt / the lady next door / no-one!’ The teacher can then identify those children who may have their reading buddy (a senior) / a school volunteer to visit them in the classroom during the day to read to them.
WE NEED YOUR HELP!
Simply share an image of you reading to a child on March 19th on our Facebook page