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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 Margaret Merga said parents were giving up on 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,” Dr Merga said.
“Less than half of six to 12year-olds 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, who is a teacher, is the ambassador for a new Department of Education program, Never Stop Reading.
“As a school teacher I am very pleased and excited to be the ambassador of this,” she said.
Sarah McGowan reads to year 3, 4, 5 and 6 students.