News Corp Wants Families To ‘Raise A Reader’ This February

Dr Seuss book donation to The Smith Family. Caeden Anderson, 9 years old, Djarryn Anderson and 7 Years old with Dr Seusss at their local park. Picture: Tony Gough

News Corp has teamed up with online learning provider LiteracyPlanet to launch a new national campaign that gets families reading together and keeping literacy levels up.

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Raise A Reader is a national, editorial-driven campaign that boosts awareness of Australia’s waning literacy standards, and during its month-long operation will aim to spark a conversation that encourages parents and caregivers to take the time to read with their kids and instil in them an appreciation for reading.

Incumbent Australian Children’s Laureate and 2015 Senior Australian of the Year, Jackie French, will be a Raise a Reader ambassador, with French herself an author of more than 170 books, including the Diary of a Wombat and Pete the Sheep.

“Reading is muscle building for the brain. If we want intelligent adults, give our kids books. If we want creative kids who’ll work out how to mine the asteroids, give our kids books. If we want kids who learn to understand themselves as well as strangers, give kids books,” French said.

“Reading is the gateway for the future of our children, and our planet.”

News Corp’s metro newspapers will support the initiative with editorials to start conversation about the importance of reading, while for two weeks in February, families can nab a Dr. Seuss story by buying a book collectible by HarperCollins with any metro or regional newspaper.

In partnership with LiteracyPlanet, News Corp Australia metro newspapers will also launch a national competition on February 13 where readers can win prizes by building their word skills.

News Corp Australia will additionally donate 10,000 children’s books to The Smith Family that will be distributed to schools, families and Let’s Read, an existing national literacy programm while LiteracyPlanet will donate 500 eLearning subscriptions to be distributed by The Smith Family.

News Corp Australia managing director for metro and regional publishing Damian Eales said,  “February is a critical month on the national literacy calendar with over 3.5 million Australians returning to school.  It is also the perfect time for parents and caregivers to start forming new habits about reading and writing in the home.

“Research continues to show that good reading and writing skills learned as a child are vital in setting up adults for future success.”

To launch Raise A Reader News Corp Australia mastheads are donating a combined total of 10,000 books to The Smith Family. The books will be distributed to families, schools and early literacy initiative, Let’s Read, a partnership between Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and The Smith Family that promotes reading with children from birth to five years.

“Our research shows that 86 per cent of parents are concerned about the development of their child’s literacy skills with parents of primary schoolers spending more than three hours a week with their children developing these skills,” LiteracyPlanet CEO Adam McArthur said.

“LiteracyPlanet is passionate about creating engaging online learning tools that help parents and teachers improve children’s literacy skills in a fun and easy way.”

Raise A Reader starts today and runs until 29 February.