Monday, 30 April 2018

Gippsland parents are being encouraged to take on the challenge of reading more books with their young children to inspire a love of reading and set them up for success later in life.

Thousands of families are expected to take part in this year’s Premiers’ Reading Challenge for the Early Years, which encourages reading to babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers.

Parents, grandparents, carers, childcare centres and kinders can help children who have not started school complete the challenge by reading 40 books with them before September.

The campaign has been backed by Melbourne Victory striker and father-of-two Besart Berisha, who has been appointed the 2018 ambassador for the Early Years Challenge.

The soccer star – who is also a refugee from Kosovo and can speak four languages – reads as part of his pre-game routine, and has made it his goal to promote the benefits of reading to children at a young age.

Research shows that regular reading with children from the day they are born is a simple way to boost their literacy and numeracy skills, and improve their performance at school and future job prospects.

More than 8,000 children and families from across Victoria participated in last year’s Premiers’ Reading Challenge for the Early Years.

The challenge will be accompanied by a digital campaign promoting the benefits of books for young kids, including interviews with authors and ideas on great books to share with children.

Gippsland children can be registered for the Premiers’ Reading Challenge for the Early Years online or at their early childhood service.

For more information, visit

Quotes attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos:

“Reading with children is one of the most powerful things that families and early childhood professionals can do to help children get the best start in life.”

“When a child opens a book, they open their eyes to the world – and that’s why it’s never too young to start reading to children.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Harriet Shing:

Sharing books and stories is such a great way to help children to develop their imaginations and confidence early, and to become lifelong readers – this is a really fun challenge for all Gippsland kids and parents, and I encourage everyone to discover the wonderful world of reading.”

Quotes attributable to Challenge Ambassador and Melbourne Victory striker Besart Berisha:

“I love reading my kids stories and it just brings us together. It’s great reading them stories and asking questions – it’s all about knowledge.”

“I think books help kids prepare themselves for the next stage of their life.”