Suburban shopping centre teams up with providers to establish good reading from birth
Perth’s Ocean Keys Shopping Centre is the West’s newest and hottest reading destination, thanks to support from the Paint Wanneroo REaD initiative, the Rotary Club of Mindarie, and Clarkson Library.
The free community initiative commenced on 17 February, and hopes to encourage young families to read, take home books, or donate books their children have enjoyed, building on the momentum of a successful project initiated by the Rotary Club of Mindarie last year, which saw the club connect with RAAFA Merriwa Estate retirees and Goodstart Early Learning centres last year to make and distribute red boxes for free books through the Paint the Town REaD initiative.
Andrea Folkard, Rotary Club secretary and Edith Cowan University lecturer, said the initiative was designed to give children “a greater chance of being good readers, writers and learners”.
The initiative is not aimed at children starting school reading, but rather about exposing children to more words, so they are in a better position to learn.
“Research shows children don’t hear enough words in everyday conversations,” Ms Folkard said, “so if we read to them from birth, they will have many more words in their vocabulary.”
With brain development peaking in the first five years of life, she continued, “waiting until children commence school is almost too late.”
Exposing children to stories, rhyme, songs and play from a very young age will mean that when they arrive at school they will be better able to communicate their needs, understand conversations, take direction, and learn to read and write.
Grandparents, older siblings, neighbours and parents should all join in, Ms Folkard said, encouraging everyone to band together to ensure that children develop a lifelong love of books.
Giselle Posilero, Ocean Keys marketing manager, said the reading corner would provide benefits for many families, with children’s books available for free.
Community members can bring in secondhand books, or donate a copy of their favourite book, to the information desk, where all books are thoroughly cleaned before going on display in the reading corner, which is filled with bean bags, and seating for people of all ages.
Clarkson Library staff will support the initiative by hosting free Tiny Tots storytime sessions each month, on every second Monday from 10.30-11 am.