Never Stop Reading! ambassador Sarah McGowan visits Greenwood Primary School to promote bedtime reading

Mrs McGowan reading the book Dougal, the Garbage Dump Bear to years 3 and 4 students at Greenwood Primary School for the Never Stop Reading! session. Also in attendance was Kingsley MLA Jessica Stojkovski, principal Peter Mulcahy and school board member John Logan.
Mrs McGowan reading the book Dougal, the Garbage Dump Bear to years 3 and 4 students at Greenwood Primary School for the Never Stop Reading! session. Also in attendance was Kingsley MLA Jessica Stojkovski, principal Peter Mulcahy and school board member John Logan.

PARENTS are being urged not to close the book on their children’s bedtime reading routine in a new initiative being rolled out in public schools.

Launching a series of social media videos and online factsheets, Never Stop Reading! ambassador Sarah McGowan – wife of WA Premier Mark McGowan – visited Greenwood Primary School on Monday to talk with children and parents about the importance of reading regularly.

“Even when children have learned how to read it’s still really important they continue reading with their parents to build on their literacy skills,” the primary school teacher and mother-of-three said.

Never Stop Reading! was prompted by research that shows parents are giving up on the daily reading habit too early.

Curtin University literacy researcher Margaret Merga interviewed children from years 4 to 6 for the study.

“It was surprising to discover 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 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.

“Our more recent research with children from six to 12 years old also found less than half were read to by their dads.

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