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Loud support for fostering crucial reading skills

16 Nov 2012

Culture and the Arts Minister John Day today opened a six-hour reading relay with a passage from Sam, Grace and the Shipwreck by Michelle Gillespie to demonstrate reading can be a shared activity, not something only done alone.

Mr Day said the Read Out Loud event, hosted by the State Library of Western Australia in the Perth Cultural Centre from 10am to 4pm, is part of the National Year of Reading.

“It is important for reading to be promoted as an essential life skill as well as an enjoyable pastime,” he said.

“People who can read take it for granted and often they don’t understand how difficult it can be for others who struggle with reading.

“Australian Bureau of Statistics figures indicate 46 per cent of Australians do not have sufficient reading skills to perform everyday tasks like filling out forms, reading recipes or sharing a book with their children and this can be limiting.

“People with strong reading skills have more opportunity to get better-paid jobs and also have greater understanding and experiences they might not otherwise have.

"Many people don’t pick up a newspaper to discover what’s happening in the world; don’t disappear into a good book; don’t share the joy of a story with their children. It is important to show everyone that reading is a fun, social activity and to encourage them to read more.”

The Minister is one of many high-profile people scheduled to read throughout the day with students from Noranda Primary School, Riverside Primary School, Perth College, Montessori School, Padbury Catholic Primary School, St Michael’s College and St Stephen’s School.

City of Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi; Australia’s first Child Laureate, Boori Monty Pryor; former Australian of the Year Dr Fiona Wood; WA poet Vivienne Glance; author and comedian Oliver Phommavanh; and National Year of Reading ambassadors Isme Stubbs and Mrs Janet Holmes à Court are also participating.

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