Every Victorian toddler will receive a free picture book as part of a Brumby Government drive to boost literacy by encouraging parents to read to their children.
Member for Western Victoria, Gayle Tierney said under the $2.1 million Young Readers Program, parents visiting a maternal child health centre would be given a free literacy information pack when their child was aged four months and a free book when they are aged two.
The Young Readers Program will give parents practical information about how to help children develop literacy skills from a young age. Importantly, the program will also identify and help parents with poor literacy.”
Ms Tierney said starting this week, Victoria’s network of 824 maternal and child health centres will begin distributing the free books to an estimated 70,000 parents with two-year-old children.
Nurses will distribute adult literacy information kits and refer parents who need help to adult literacy programs.
Ms Tierney said the program would also deliver:
• A free ‘rhyme time’ booklet and DVD, book bags, and information on local libraries to parents with infants aged four months of age; and
• Online support materials by early childhood literacy experts.
Ms Tierney said the program was an excellent example of a community partnership, with the State Library of Victoria, the Municipal Association of Victoria, and local library services working together.
All books in the Young Readers Program are written by Australian authors and were selected by a reference group for appeal to children and parents from diverse cultural backgrounds.