Program aims to keep kids excited by reading

THE Children’s Book Council of Australia Tasmanian branch has launched a program to get kids reading – and keep them reading – following special funding from the Tasmanian Community Fund.

Books To Keep Kids Reading began last month at community health centres across the state.

Project organiser Nella Pickup said children who did not read at home may require up to three months remedial help to regain skills lost over school holidays.

Parents and grandparents needed skills in selecting the right books for their child to support early literacy development from birth through the primary years.

“Children need to read often but if the books they read are bland and boring or the concepts are too old for them, they become disenchanted and look for alternative activities,” she said.

“Many children stop reading for enjoyment at eight and nine years of age.

“But if parents were better informed about books it should mean that children will not drop the reading habit but continue to enjoy reading so that they, in turn, will foster a love of reading in their own children.”

TCF chairwoman Lynn Mason said the project, which is funded under the TCF’s ‘Building Tasmania as the Learning Community’ program, demonstrated how TCF funding could benefit all members of the community.

“The TCF is delighted to be able to help foster a love of reading in children and help parents select good Australian books that will engage the young mind,” she said.

“It’s vitally important young Tasmanians are nurtured in this way to assist with their development in the early years and beyond.

“Reading sets up learning for life,” Ms Mason said.

The information sessions will highlight the need for books to gain a child’s attention and give parents the skills to select books that match their child’s age group and interests.

“Children need to be attracted to them but not overwhelmed by them,” Mrs Pickup said.

“Titles need to appeal and, if possible, choose a book with colour illustrations.”

The TCF holds two general grant rounds every year, each of which attracts approximately 250 applications ands distributes funds across a broad range of project areas, offering benefits to many different community sectors and regions.

The next general grant round opened on February 19.

Further details and funding guidelines are available at www.tascomfund.org or by emailing admin@tascomfund.org or by calling the Fund office on 6233 2920.

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