We send our kids to school at 5 years old, back-pack on shoulder, lunch box in hand, with the faith that we have done all we can leading up to this important time in terms of ‘school preparedness’. This might have meant learning a little about numbers, drawing and reading them a few stories before bed.
Familiarising children with books, words and stories isn’t something that comes naturally for some parents however, especially those from a non-English speaking background, or for those parents who may not be able to read themselves. As Australia becomes more and more multicultural, this disadvantage means that more and more children from these families enter school on the back foot. Their reading and writing ability is behind, and they may lose faith in their abilities in this area quicker than other children.
But this cycle can stop. By intervening with parents and children from the age of 0-5, Reading Out of Poverty introduces reading to children, provides them with access to books and educates parents about the connection between love and reading.
On Friday 20 May, Freemasons Foundation Director RWBro. David Gibbs presented a $4600 cheque to the organisation to enable a series of ‘pop up’ Libraries in Melbourne’s outer suburbs, and to assist in the further development of its collection of resources. Resources will include bi-lingual books, and books in other languages.
Reading Out of Poverty’s Project Manager Emma Pearce said that the small not-for-profit organisation also aims to develop more community programs where volunteer readers assist parents and children in play groups, hubs and public libraries.
“Our volunteers will demonstrate to parents how to read to their children, and how reading can help connect with the child. This empowers parents and encourages the routine of reading regularly,” she said.
Reading Out of Poverty has already established programs in 22 communities as well as in indigenous communities of the Northern Territory.