Graeme's Message, 26 March 2015

Dear Rotarians and friends,

At District Conference we heard of the new partnership between our District and The Smith Family, promoting basic education and literacy, one of the six areas of focus of Rotary Foundation. This program is aimed at helping disadvantaged children in our community to develop literacy skills.

“Let’s Read” is a program engaging families to support reading with their children with age-specific literacy resources. Specifically designed packages for children at 4 months , 12 months, 18 months and 3-4 years are available. The program was developed by experts at the Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Community Child Health within the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. A partnership was formed in 2005 with The Smith Family to implement the program across Australia.

Since the program was established over 44,000 “Let’s Read” resources have been distributed to families reaching 200,000 children. In 2013-14 around 30,000 parents and their children participated. The program has been evaluated amongst participating families and shown to have a positive impact:

  • 90% of parents indicate they read more with their child
  • 90% of parents indicated that their children were more likely to want to be read to
  • 90% of parents indicated their child was more interested in literacy activities
  • greater than 60% of participating families indicated they had joined the local library

District 9800 is promoting this program because research published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics has shown that approximately half of the adult population in Australia are either illiterate or have a poor level of literacy. This is a staggering statistic.

Clubs can participate by contributing $100 to fund the 4 packs for an individual family over a four year period. District aims to raise $6000 from clubs and make a block donation to the Smith Family. This seems a great investment in the future for the families who receive this assistance and worthy of our club participating. Given that this is Rotary’s “World Literacy Month”, I suggest we make a donation. 

Regards, Graeme