Never too old to turn a new page
THE wife of Premier Mark McGowan has challenged fellow parents to read with their children at home, even once they are capable of reading to themselves.
Backing up university research that has found less than half of Perth’s students in years 4 to 6 are read to at home, Sarah McGowan wants more parents to continue the nightly routine for older children.
“Just reading to someone makes you a better reader,” she said.
“It’s easy to say ‘there’s a book, go read it’ but we really need to read aloud – it’s fun to read to your children and helps strengthen your bond with them.”
Curtin University literacy researcher Dr Margaret Merga said parents were giving up on the daily reading too early and especially encouraged men to take an active role.
“Research strongly suggests that reading aloud regularly has a significant and positive effect on children’s language, phonological awareness, print concepts, comprehension and vocabulary outcomes, as well as noteworthy psychosocial benefits,” she said.
“Less than half of six to 12-yearolds were read to by their dads.
“It’s a special time for kids when their parents spend it with them at the end of the day.”
Ms McGowan – a teacher herself – is the ambassador for a new Department of Education program called Never Stop Reading.
During a recent reading session at Tuart Rise Primary School in Baldivis, Mrs McGowan asked her captivated audience if they enjoyed the story and would they now want to finish it.
They replied with an enthusiastic ‘yes’.
“As a school teacher I am very pleased and excited to be the ambassador of this,” she said.
Tuart Rise deputy principal www.communitypix.com.au d481581 Glynn Andersen said they ran morning reading sessions.
“We do it every morning from 8am; children and their parents are welcome. Each session they attend, they put a link on a paper chain and by the end of the year they have a Christmas chain,” she said.
“We read to them, as do the parents and older children read to the younger ones.
“It gives the students a safe person to go if they don’t understand something they may not want to ask their peers – particularly those with English as a second language.”
Visit www.education.wa.edu. au/neverstopreading.
Sarah McGowan had a reading session with Tuart Rise Primary School students.