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Never Stop Reading! ambassador Sarah McGowan talks to Wattle Grove Primary School students about the benefits of reading regularly.

The benefits of reading to children

WATTLE Grove Primary School students were visited by Never Stop Reading! ambassador Sarah McGowan recently.

Mrs McGowan, the wife of Premier Mark McGowan, talked with children and parents about the importance of reading regularly.

A primary school teacher and mother of three, Mrs McGowan knows how vital reading aloud can be and how the bedtime ritual is another way for families to read together regularly. 

Mrs McGowan said even when children had learnt how to read it was still important they continued reading with their parents to build on their literacy skills.

“I am very pleased and excited to be the ambassador of Never Stop Reading!,’’ she said.

“As a school teacher, reading is something I do every day and it is wonderful to have the opportunity to share some of the benefits of reading with many more children and their families across WA through this new initiative.’’ 

Never Stop Reading! was prompted by research showing parents were giving up on the daily reading habit too early. 

Curtin University literacy researcher Margaret Merga interviewed children from Years 4-6 for the study. 

“It was surprising to discover that more than half of these children do not have anyone reading to them at home,” she said. 

Dr Merga said raising awareness of the benefits of reading aloud was needed now more than ever. 

“Research strongly suggests that reading aloud regularly has a significant and positive effect on children’s language, phonological awareness, print concepts, comprehension and vocabulary outcomes, as well as noteworthy psychosocial benefits.” she said.

Dr Merga’s latest research also highlighted the impact dads could have if they made the bedtime story a regular ritual with their children.

“Our more recent research with children from six to 12-years-old found that less than half were read to by their dads,” she said. 

“If we can encourage more dads to get on board, they can make a powerful difference.

“It’s a special time for children when their parents spend it with them at the end of the day.” 

If you want to view the Never Stop Reading! social media videos you can go to https://www.education.wa.edu.au/NEVERSTOPREADING

About Anita

Anita Mcinnes received a highly commended in the 2009 WA Media Awards suburban section for her reporting. Two of her sons were born at Swan District Hospital and for many years she was a partner in a small business, which operated in the Gingin-Muchea-Bullsbrook area. As a mature age student Anita studied journalism at Curtin University before working in Busselton, Dunsborough and Rockingham with West Regionals. She says the best part of her job is meeting eastern suburb residents and visiting the many attractions in the area.

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