From an increased IQ, to reducing stress, the benefits of reading with children have been documented in many studies. But some children, particularly those in care, rarely receive that opportunity.
In recognition of this huge disadvantage, The University of Notre Dame, in partnership with the Western Australian Department for Children Protection and Family Support’s Fremantle district (DCPFS) have developed the ‘Whale of Tale’ Recreational Reading Program. Through the program, Education students from the Fremantle Campus are able to spend one hour each week with a child in care, enjoying books and stories through their own special time together.
Hon Andrea Mitchell MLA, Minister for Child Protection, says this important partnership gives pre-service teachers a first-hand insight and understanding into how trauma affects learning.
“For many children coming into care, their previous home environments may have not exposed them to adequate reading and writing resources, and understanding the challenges they face and encouraging them to read is the key to developing their literacy skills,” the Minister said.
Despite the challenges that many of the children faced in their lives, final year Bachelor of Education (Primary) student Katelyn Robinson, found that reading had vastly improved each student’s attitude to learning and enabled them to realise greater self-belief.
“Having an opportunity from my first year at University to impact on the education of future generations, is something I will take with me into my teaching career.”
It’s programs like this, that are the key to our future and why funding for our universities is essential to keep Australia clever.
For further reading, please visit The University of Notre Dame Australia.