NEARLY four in 10 children own fewer than 11 books, with one in seven leaving school unable to read well.
And two in five mothers want their children to read more.
Such statistics have helped drive a campaign this month that will assist a Border school to increase its literary resources.
Glenroy Public School will receive new books chosen by the students as part of Dymocks Books for Kids, which runs until the end of Book Week on August 26.
For every children’s book sold at Dymocks Albury during this time, 50 cents will be donated to a library regeneration program that will then provide double that value of books to the school.
Glenroy Public School teacher librarian Ruth Grogan said the school was pleased and surprised to be selected for Books for Kids.
“It’s another way of promoting reading with school, and a connection with the local book shop, which we use anyway,” she said.
“There’s so many books to choose from that you can never buy all the ones that you want, so a bit of extra help is wonderful.
“Some of our books are getting older so it’s good to be able to renew those or buy new copies of classic books that are getting a bit tatty but we still want to have that book in our library.”
Dymocks Children’s Charities general manager Paul Swain said having book choice and access to quality books was critical for children’s reading.
“Contrary to what some of the popular belief is children don’t want to read books on devices,” he said.
“Children, the vast majority of times, choose a physical book. We have beautiful picture books.
“Australia has very unique flora and fauna and many, many of the books that children and schools choose in our programs are very Aussie-relevant titles, they’re written by Australian authors.
“So we have a fantastic children’s book culture in Australia – our big challenge is that too many children are not in a position to own those books.”
Hence the importance of a library that’s easy to visit.
“Not every child has access to a public library, but every child has access to their school,” Mr Swain said.
Ms Grogan said the Glenroy students still enjoyed handling and reading books.
“I think because they’re really appealing,” she said.
“The classroom always has a selection of books from the library and children are being read to in the classroom and the library as well.
“So they’re exposed to good quality literature.”
- Dymocks Books for Kids, August 12 to 26, aims to increase book ownership, promote reading for fun and raise literacy levels