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Transcript 17054

Helping our kids become great readers

Photo of Rudd, Kevin

Rudd, Kevin

Period of Service: 03/12/2007 to 24/06/2010

More information about Rudd, Kevin on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 12/02/2010

Release Type: Blog Transcript

Transcript ID: 17054

This blog was open for comment from 2 to 12 February 2010.

Kevin.Rudd says...

I know that this time of year parents are rushing around packing pencil cases, backpacks and lunchboxes getting their kids ready for the first days of the school year (make sure you keep your receipts to claim the Education Tax Refund). But I hope that the mums and dads out there can take a minute to participate in this blog on the important issue of improving children's literacy.

When launching Jasper and Abby and the Great Australia Day Kerfuffle I was surprised by the attitude of some people that children's books were not important or that children's literature was not serious. Let me say that teaching kids to read is deadly serious. That's why I wanted to run this blog to talk, seriously, with parents about how we can best help kids to read by taking action at home and by giving us your thoughts on what else the Government could be doing.

The Government has been doing a lot to support parents, teachers and schools to improve literacy in Australia:

* We have put some $540 million in over four years on the Smarter Schools national partnership on literacy and numeracy with focus on key areas including improving how we teach literacy and numeracy, better identifying those 'at risk' kids who need help to improve their reading and writing and encouraging our best principals and teachers to support their colleagues.

* We know that schools are great innovators and teachers and principals often have the best ideas about what will work for their students. That's why we have invested $41 million for 30 Literacy and Numeracy Pilot Initiatives across the country so we can gather an evidence base of what works and share it with other schools.

* For the first time we can compare how all children in Australia are performing in the basics, this allows teachers and parents to direct support to students that need it most using data collected from the National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy tests. It also means schools that aren't meeting the minimum standards get the support they need to improve.

* Developing a National Curriculum so that every kid from every state or territory has the essential skills they need. The first phase comprising English, Mathematics, Science and History will be implemented from 2011.

This is only half the story - we know that what happens at school and in the formal education system is important, but what parents do at home is just as valuable. Last week Julia launched the My School website - to give parents the information they need to improve the education of their kids. We are also investing in home tutoring, books and other resources in partnership with the Brotherhood of St Laurence for children between three and five years old in disadvantaged communities.

So that's a bit about what we are doing, but I am interested in what are people doing at home, how you involve young ones in everyday reading tasks and how do you find the time?

Our kids are now grown up but Thérèse has been active as the patron of the Indigenous Literacy Project which aims to combat the crisis of illiteracy in remote indigenous communities.

There are also some great local projects being run by parents who are passionate about getting kids to read. At the Community Cabinet in South Australia a few weeks ago I met with parents who run the Little Big Book Club. They help parents choose age appropriate books and in some cases even provide free book packs for parents to read with their kids.

It can be really hard to find the time to read to your kids every night. But even if you set a goal of a couple of times a week then that is a great start.

I know there are lots of great ideas out there - over to you.

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Transcript 17054