Ministers Statement

Ms MIKAKOS — Thank you, President. I rise to inform the house on how the Andrews Labor government is encouraging all Victorian parents to take on the challenge of reading more books with their young children.

I recently launched the Premiers’ Reading Challenge for the Early Years, which supports the Andrews Labor government’s Education State vision to improve the literacy and numeracy skills of young Victorians through a love of reading. Reading plays a vital role in a child’s development, and we know the critical importance of the first five years in a child’s life.

This week in Victoria is Education Week, so it is a timely reminder that regular reading with children from the day they are born is a simple way to boost their literacy and numeracy skills and ultimately improve their performance at school. Thousands of Victorian children and families are expected to participate this year, and I encourage them all to do so. The Premiers’ Reading Challenge for the Early Years ends in September, so there is still plenty of time.

The government is a proud supporter of this key Victorian initiative and will continue to support children and young people’s reading skills and highlight the importance of reading for literacy development.

I take this opportunity to thank Melbourne Victory striker Besart Berisha, who is the Premiers’ Reading Challenge ambassador for the early years. He has talked about how he loves to read to his children.

There are over 2000 children’s books on the early years list to choose from, and I want to emphasise this fact because it is indeed about providing more books for parents, educators and children to choose from, not less, and it is a great way to foster an interest in and love of reading in children.

Of course we know how much those opposite love fairy tales, so I am sure they will be pleased to hear that amongst the books available for reading in 2018 there is:

  • Miffy the Fairy,
  • Alice and the Airy Fairy,
  • Fairy Bread,
  • Fairy Dust,
  • Dear Fairy Godmother; and
  • Lily and the Fairy House.

I know that those opposite would prefer to read ‘Pinocchio’, ‘The Guy Who Cried Public Service Cuts’, ‘Little Red Lobster Hood’ and ‘Goldilocks and the Two Pairs’.

Honourable members interjecting.

The PRESIDENT — Two bears?

Honourable members interjecting.

The PRESIDENT — Order! Minister, why are there only two bears?

Ms Shing — Because the Little Red Lobster ate the third one.

Ms MIKAKOS — President, it was ‘Goldilocks and the Two Pairs’, as in P-A-I-R-S.