Never Stop Reading: new ambassador Sarah McGowan urges parents to keep reading to their kids


Sarah McGowan reading to Tuart Rise PS students in Baldivis. Picture: Jon Hewson d481581
Sarah McGowan reading to Tuart Rise PS students in Baldivis. Picture: Jon Hewson d481581

THE wife of Premier Mark McGowan has challenged fellow parents to read with their children at home, even once they are capable of reading to themselves.

Backing up university research that has found less than half of Perth’s students in Year 4 to 6 are read to at home, Sarah McGowan wants more parents to continue the nightly routine for older children.

“Just reading to someone makes you a better reader,” she said.

“It’s easy to say there’s a book, go read it but we really need to read aloud – it’s fun to read to your children and helps strengthen your bond with them.”

Curtin University literacy researcher Margaret Merga said parents were giving up on the daily reading too early and especially encouraged men to take an active role.

“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,”Dr Merga said.

“Less than half of six to 12 year olds were read to by their dads.

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

Ms McGowan – a teacher herself – is the ambassador for a new Department of Education program, Never Stop Reading.

During a recent reading session at Tuart Rise Primary School in Baldivis, Mrs McGowan asked her captivated audience if they enjoyed the story and would they now want to finish it.

They replied with an enthusiastic ‘yes’.

“Just reading to someone makes you a better reader,” she said.

“As a school teacher I am very pleased and excited to be the ambassador of this.”

For more information visit www.education.wa.edu.au/NEVERSTOPREADING.

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