Literacy and numeracy

Minister’s Statement

I rise to inform the house on the latest way that the Andrews Labor government is helping parents to teach their children how to read, write and count. Recently I had the pleasure of launching a new publication, Literacy and Numeracy Tips to Help Your Child Every Day: A Guide for Parents of Children Aged 0–12. This booklet provides handy tips for parents to help their children develop literacy and numeracy skills through fun, accessible activities, benefiting thousands of Victorian families. It is a free publication and is available to be downloaded from the Victorian Department of Education and Training website.

Sadly more than half of all Victorian children under two are not being read to every day, which impacts on their development. Evidence also shows that at the age of four to five being read to six to seven days a week makes a huge difference. It has the same effect on a child’s reading skills as being almost 12 months older, so it is never too early to read to a child. The tips and activities in this booklet are not only useful for parents and carers but also for older siblings and grandparents and other significant persons in a child’s life. Some useful tips in the guide include: run your finger across the page with each word to help your child identify and remember words and sounds; practise counting when grocery shopping with your child — for example, counting the number of apples you put into the shopping bag; and talk to your child about objects around them and help them to judge which is bigger or smaller, taller or shorter.

We know that working parents are time poor, which is why this booklet is designed so that you do not have to do all the activities, but doing some will improve your child’s learning. This is just another practical way that the Andrews Labor government is ensuring that all kids are ready for school. I also encourage members to promote the Premiers’ Reading Challenge for the early years in their communities because this is another opportunity to promote reading to young children.

In both last year’s and this year’s budget we funded school readiness funding, which changes the way we fund kindergartens. This massive $58.1 million funding boost will make sure that children who need more support get it. From next year, kindergartens will have funding for a range of support, such as speech therapists and language and literacy experts to work with children, families and educators to lift our literacy and numeracy skills amongst young children.