LiteracyPlanet and News Corp launch ‘Raise a Reader’

LiteracyPlanet and newspaper publisher News Corp Australia have launched 'Raise A Reader' – a national editorial-driven campaign that aims to inspire families to respond to Australia’s waning literacy levels by raising a reader.

The month-long campaign aims to spark a conversation that encourages parents and caregivers to read to their children and impress upon them an appreciation for the enjoyment and benefits of reading and writing.

Jackie French, incumbent Australian Children’s Laureate and author of more than 170 books including children's favourites Diary of a Wombat and Pete the Sheep, is Raise a Reader ambassador.

Ms French said: “Reading is muscle building for the brain. If we want intelligent adults, give our kids books. If we want creative kids who'll work out how to mine the asteroids, give our kids books. If we want kids who learn to understand themselves as well as strangers, give kids books. Reading is the gateway for the future of our children, and our planet.”

LiteracyPlanet CEO, Adam McArthur, said: “We are proud to partner with News Corp Australia on this important initiative to raise readers around Australia. Literacy skills are the building blocks of success in later life and a critical development skill for children.

“Our research shows that 86 per cent of parents are concerned about the development of their child’s literacy skills with parents of primary schoolers spending more than three hours a week with their children developing these skills.

“LiteracyPlanet is passionate about creating engaging online learning tools that help parents and teachers improve children’s literacy skills in a fun and easy way.”

News Corp Australia managing director for metro and regional publishing, Damian Eales, said:  “February is a critical month on the national literacy calendar with over 3.5 million Australians returning to school.  It is also the perfect time for parents and caregivers to start forming new habits about reading and writing in the home.

“Research continues to show that good reading and writing skills learned as a child are vital in setting up adults for future success."

Australian literacy statistics:
* Australia ranks 14th in terms of literacy ability in a global index, falling significantly from when the results were first surveyed in 2000.

* The ability of the best readers in Australia also fell by 5 per cent between 2000 and 2012. (Source: Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA))

*One in 10 trainee teachers have failed a new national literacy and numeracy test, suggesting there are thousands fronting the country’s classrooms without the proper skills to teach. (Source: Federal government)

* 44 per cent of Australians have literacy ­proficiency below a level set as the minimum to operate effectively in the workplace and ­society. (Source: Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies)

* 46 per cent of Australians aged 15 to 74 years had very poor to poor ‘prose literacy’ (ability to read documents) (Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics)

* The language skills of 6.8 per cent of children in Australia are developmentally vulnerable. (Source: Australian Early Development Census)

* 86 per cent of parents are concerned about the development of their child’s literacy skills with parents of primary schoolers spending more than three hours a week with their children on this. (LiteracyPlanet Parent Survey, 2014)

* 95 per cent of parents think online education programs are important. (LiteracyPlanet Parent Survey, 2014)