Reading is the essential life skill

Research shows that learning to read is one of the most important factors in school success and that an early exposure to books and stories substantially contributes to success in early literacy.  There are strong links between literacy, school performance, self-esteem and life chances with poor literacy skills being linked with lower education, earnings, health and social outcomes.

Literacy transforms lives

It often surprises people to learn that Australia has a significant literacy issue.   

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that 44% of Australian adults don’t have the literacy skills they need to cope with the demands of everyday life and work

The Australian Early Development Census shows that 17.3% (2012) of five year old children starting school in Western Australia are developmentally vulnerable or at risk in their language and cognitive skills. 

A survey by the Australian Industry Group, carried out as part of their National Workforce Literacy Project in 2010 found that more that 75% of employers reported that their business was affected by low levels of literacy and numeracy. 

Reading aloud to children is the single most important activity for building the skills and knowledge necessary for children to successfully learn to read when they begin school.  Children who are good readers are usually successful learners.

Follow the links below to read more about the research which underpins the Better Beginnings Family Literacy Program:

Early Brain Development

Libraries, Literacy and Learning

Families as First Teachers

Early Brain Development

A Snapshot of Early Childhood Development in Australia 2012 - AEDI National Report

Australian Early Development Index, Australian Government 2013

Investing in the Early Years - A National Early Childhood Development Strategy
Council of Australian Governments 2009

Invest in the Very Young
James J. Heckman, PHD., Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences 2000
Ounce of Prevention Fund and the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy Studies

The Foundations of Lifelong Health are Built in Early Childhood
Centre on the Developing Child, Harvard University 2010

Engaging Families in the Early Childhood Development Story
Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs 2010

Experience-based brain development: Scientific underpinnings of the importance of early child development in a global world
J.F. Mustard, Paediatrics & Child Health, November 2006 11(9), pp. 571-572

Nature, Nurture and Early Childhood Brain Development
Sara Gable & Melissa Hunting, University of Missouri Extension 2001

Libraries, Literacy and Learning

Dr Rosie Flewitt, Association for the Professional Development of Early Years Educators 2013

Growing Young Minds: How Museums and Libraries Create Lifelong Learners
Institute of Museum and Library Services 2013

Books, bytes and brains: The implications of new knowledge for children’s early literacy learning
Liza Hopkins, Julie Green & Fiona Brooks, Australian Journal of Early Childhood, March 2013, 38(1)

Becoming Literate
Early Years Learning Framework Professional Learning Program 2012

Libraries for Literacy - every day, every way: 2011-2014
State Library of Queensland 2011

Families as First Teachers

Guyonne Kalb and Jan C. von Ours, Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series, Working Paper No. 17/13, 2013

Parental engagement in learning and schooling: lessons from research
L. Emerson, J. Fear, S. Fox & E. Sanders, Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) for the Family-School and Community Partnerships Bureau 2012

Let's Read Them a Story! The Parent Factor in Education
OECD, Programme for International Student Assessment 2012

 The Australian national report, Challenges for Australian Education: Results from PISA 2009, released by the Australian Council for Educational Research, is also available.

Early Years Learning Framework Parents' Guide
Council of Australian Governments 2009

Report Card: the Wellbeing of Young Australians
Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth

Families that read: A time-diary analysis of young people’s and parents’reading
Killian Mullan, Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales
Journal of Research in Reading 2010, 33(4) pp. 414-430

Young Children Develop in an Environment of Relationships
National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, Centre on the Developing Child, Harvard University 2004

Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework Evidence Paper
Caroline Cohrssen, Amelia Church & Collette Tayler, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development

Engaging Families in the Early Childhood Development Story
Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs 2010



Bookstart is the world's first national book gifting program, developed by Booktrust in 1992.  Research by Professor Barrie Wade and Dr Maggie Moore from Birmingham University has shown that on starting school, Bookstart children were significantly ahead of their classmates in all reading and number assessments.  At age seven, the Bookstart children were still ahead of their classmates in learning. 





As a teacher of over 30 years, I have witnessed the Better Beginnings program helping to transform children’s lives and given them greater potential to grow, learn and develop, perform well at school and succeed in later life.
Councillor David Lagan, Deputy Mayor, City of Stirling

I tell stories in Vietnamese and read to my children in English.  I only started reading English after receiving Better Beginnings. 

One mother reads with her four year old every afternoon after school now.  She said without these books, they would not have any to read. 
Teacher, Remote Community School

It’s wonderful to have support across the community emphasising the importance of reading and language development. 
Community Health Nurse

…I never thought of reading to my baby.  Better Beginnings has really boosted my confidence.