SLQ encourages parents to make reading with little ones top priority this Children’s Book Week

In the lead up to Children’s Book Week (20 – 26 August), the State Library of Queensland (SLQ) in partnership with public libraries across the state will highlight the importance of book sharing with babies and young children.

As part of the First 5 Forever initiative, parents and carers are encouraged to read with their children and benefit from free state-wide literacy activities available at their local library.

The four-year $20 million program, now in its second year, supports parents and primary caregivers of children aged 0–5 to be their child’s first and most important educator through simple everyday activities like reading, singing, playing and talking.

Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch says the First 5 Forever program provides parents, grandparents and caregivers with the information, skills and tools needed to support their child’s early language and literacy development.

“It’s about giving Queensland kids the greatest chance to succeed, something which has flow on benefits for the whole community, Ms Enoch said.

“Research shows that spending time in the early years talking, playing and reading has the most positive impact on literacy and success in school.”

“Families have endless opportunities each day to interact with their children and provide the best opportunities for learning.”

State Librarian, Mrs Sonia Cooper says First 5 Forever breaks down some community misconceptions about what’s important in early childhood.

“Parents want to do what’s best for their kids, but it can be difficult to navigate what’s really needed when there’s a barrage of competing messages,” Mrs Cooper said.

“Many parents think you need to spend a lot of money to give children the best learning experiences, or that learning can wait until children start school, but in fact it’s the simple everyday interactions and exchanges that make a huge difference and are proven to have the biggest impact over time,” she said.

“That’s why we’re really excited to be part of this program – something that gets back to basics and empowers parents and caregivers to be confident as their child’s first and foremost educator.”

“I’d encourage all Queensland parents, grandparents and caregivers to check what free First 5 Forever activities and support is available in their local public library.”

An initiative of SLQ and the Queensland Government, First 5 Forever is delivered in partnership with Queensland Local Governments through their local public libraries and Indigenous Knowledge Centres potentially reaching 98% of the population.

Find out more about First 5 Forever at your local public library or visit www.first5forever.org.au

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