Put fun back into read­ing

The Weekend Post - - News - LAURA ALBULARIO

READ­ING and writ­ing has be­come an­other source of parental guilt, with a ma­jor­ity of par­ents ac­knowl­edg­ing their chil­dren don’t spend enough time on these ba­sic skills.

A na­tional poll of 1000 par­ents and car­ers, com­mis­sioned as part of the Cairns Post’s Raise a Reader lit­er­acy cam­paign, found 60 per cent of par­ents feel guilty about their chil­dren not do­ing enough read­ing and writ­ing in their spare time – with many blam­ing dig­i­tal de­vices.

Al­most 70 per cent said it was eas­ier to en­gage their chil­dren with screens than with read­ing and writ­ing – a re­sult that does not sur­prise Michelle Mowbray of early lit­er­acy pro­gram Ready to Read.

“If most kids are given a choice be­tween screen time and read­ing, screens win every time,” she said. “It’s like lol­lies ver­sus broc­coli – read­ing doesn’t have the same neu­ro­log­i­cal re­wards built in.”

The sur­vey find­ings fol­low from the lat­est UNICEF re­port card which found Aus­tralia trails be­hind most OECD coun­tries in qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion, scrap­ing in at 39th out of the 41 coun­tries as­sessed.

Pro­fes­sor Frank Oberk­laid, di­rec­tor of the Cen­tre for Com­mu­nity Child Health at the Royal Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal in Mel­bourne, said read­ing and writ­ing should be pri­or­i­ties.

“Lit­er­acy is the build­ing block of aca­demic suc­cess,” he said. “Ba­bies might not be able to un­der­stand the story, but they will look at the pic­tures and un­der­stand that books rep­re­sent some­thing fun.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.