State Library delivers one millionth family reading pack

  • One million Better Beginnings reading packs provided to WA families
  • If you lined up all the Better Beginnings reading packs delivered to WA families in the past 16 years, they would stretch from Perth to Kalgoorlie
  • The Better Beginnings family literacy program promotes families reading with babies and young children 
  • The one millionth Better Beginnings reading pack was given away today to the Cruthers family to help eight-week old Blake Cruthers on his lifelong literacy journey.

    It may seem like an early introduction to books, but this milestone also marks another key date in Blake’s life journey at his eight-week health check with a community child health nurse.

    Families reading with their baby from birth improves literacy and learning and provides a positive start in life.

    Baby Blake will receive another bag when he goes to kindergarten. Between now and then the family’s local public library can support Blake’s early learning with books and fun family activities.

    In joint partnership with the State Library, Child and Adolescent Health Service’ Community Health nurses are able to provide the Better Beginnings pack to parents at both the 8 week and two-year-old appointments.

    Child health checks are available to all families free of charge at key ages to assess their child’s growth and development, so the collaboration to deliver the Better Beginnings pack at the same time provides a double whammy of benefits.

    Since 2004, the State Library has been delivering the award-winning Better Beginnings family literacy program with its important messages of reading stories, playing, talking and singing to children from birth.

    If you lined up all the Better Beginnings reading packs delivered to Western Australian families in the past 16 years, they would stretch from Perth to Kalgoorlie.

    The program has grown from a small pilot with six local governments to Australia’s most extensive family literacy program, delivering packs to 97 per cent of Western Australian families through 139 local governments across the State. 

    A key part of the program is the delivery of reading packs that contain an age appropriate book, information for parents about books and reading and an invitation to join the local public library.

    In addition to the usual contents of the reading pack, the special one millionth gold pack included a collection of books for the family to read to baby Blake throughout their first year.

    Better Beginnings also promotes the importance of the relationship families can have with their local public library. Public libraries are great places to go to find free resources and activities that support literacy and lifelong learning.

    Key to the success of Better Beginnings has been partnering with local governments, other government departments, community organisations and funding partner, Rio Tinto, to bring the program within reach of all Western Australian families.

    To learn more about how you can help babies and young children by reading with them, check out the Better Beginnings website at https://www.better-beginnings.com.au

    As stated by Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman:

    “Families reading with their children from birth is vital for preparing children for school and is a cornerstone of lifelong literacy.

    “The Better Beginnings Program continues to have a positive impact on WA families.

    “Public libraries are great places for families with many resources that are free to use and borrow and activities that support lifelong learning and recreation.”

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