ALMOST 20 per cent of children in the Penrith LGA are not equipped with the necessary reading skills to make the most of early education.
A new program is due to be launched by the ongoing campaign – Paint Penrith READ, to tackle the alarming Australian Early Development Index statistic which indicate that almost 20% children in the Penrith LGA do not have the necessary reading skills needed to excel in early education.
Roughly 20% of these school starters do not have the without basic reading and literacy skills as indicated by the Australian Early Development Index. These skills include awareness of sounds and how they form words that we speak and can be represented by printed letters.
“Mission Australia early intervention program manager Julie-Ann Wood said the focus was now getting the business community on board to help the successful local reading initiative reach more families.”
Advocators of the new program are urging local businesses to turn their waiting rooms into reading rooms in an effort to improve childhood literacy skills. Other efforts such as free books being left at businesses in the Penrith region under the Paint Penrith REaD program is also being put in place. Julie Woods as part of the campaign is also urging the corporate community engaged.
“In partnership with Cana Farm, red boxes are being made and sent out to any business that has registered or wants to register for this program,” Ms Wood said. Graham Fitzpatrick, sales manager of Paint Penrith REaD partner Vintage FM, said: “Places such as coffee shops, doctors’ offices and private childcare centres are some of the businesses that would be perfect for this type of program.”
“The aim is to raise awareness of the program and giving kids access to these resources. It’s frightening to think that some kids are even struggling to open a book these days.”
The program also aims to raise awareness of their cause and give children the access they need to resources that may be limited to them as children coming through the school system struggling to even open a book. The classroom is where children learn to read however skills such as the right way to hold a book when reading and the direction in which the pages turn are all prerequisites to reading.
“The more books we get the more we will be able to restock these red boxes,” he said. “We are asking the local community for their support by putting their unwanted books to good use by donating them.”
The Rooby Roo Book Drive launch will be at Penrith CBD Corporation, Suite 3, 488 High St, at 7am on Wednesday.
Drop off donations at neighbourhood centres, Vintage FM, Mission Australia and the Penrith CBD Corp