Books in Homes Australia
Students at Nowa Nowa Primary School share their excitement about choosing their books, and teachers and parents explain how the programme has improved the students’ engagement with reading. Source: Scootle
© Commonwealth of Australia 2014. CC BY-SA 3.0 AU
Books in Homes Australia’s vision is to re-awaken a sense of wonder in children and excitement in parents by creating an Australia where every child and family has access to books-of-choice at home.
Books in Homes Australia was founded on the realisation that failure in adult life often stems from childhoods spent in homes without books. Children who cannot read become adults who cannot communicate, and this is unacceptable in a world that operates on the written word.
Books in Homes Australia provides books-of-choice to families and children living in remote and low socio-economic circumstances, ensuring crucial early literacy engagement and the development of reading skills needed for lifelong success. 25% of titles on offer are either written or illustrated by Indigenous creators.
This Programme aims to break the education inequality found in remote and disadvantaged communities where resources are often scarce and generational poverty endemic.
Research has shown that offering children a choice in the books they would like to read leads to a higher level of motivation (Guthrie & Davis, 2003) and more positive attitudes towards reading (Worthy et al, 1998). Further, for children and families that find reading difficult, it enables them to choose books that interest them, and read at their own pace, increasing the likelihood that they will finish reading a book, and as a result gain confidence and motivation to read more (Sheffield Hallam University, 2012). Also, by selecting books that interest them, levels of achievement and persistence increase (Clark & Pythian-Sence, 2008).
Research has also shown that being read to as a child and having books in the home are two of the most important indicators of future academic success. (Henderson A. & Mapp K, 2002)
The World Health Organization (2009) states that if an child spends their first six months to three years in an environment less conducive to learning, brain development is affected, resulting in cognitive, social and behavioural delays that increase the risk of learning difficulties into adulthood.
However, the impacts of early intervention programs on disadvantage have shown to be significant for both language and cognitive development (World Health Organization, 2009). With this in mind, the Books in Homes Programme’s provision of quality literature assists in creating a stimulating environment in a child’s home led by the people they look up to—their parents.