CHILDREN of some of the Wimmera’s young parents are among the first to benefit from a new literacy program.
Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN presented Let’s Read packs to members of Horsham College’s ConnectEd Young Parents’ Program on Tuesday.
The packs contain a book, a DVD and an age-appropriate reading list.
The DVD encourages parents to read to their children and guides them through the recommended literature.
Horsham College ConnectEd Re-engagement Programs co-ordinator Kim Drummond said about six of the 18 young mothers involved in the college’s program had received the packs.
“Reading to their children is something my staff member Brydie Scollary teaches the parents and encourages them to do at home,” she said.
Mrs Drummond said the two-year-old daughter of one of the mums had been running around the house with her new book asking people to read to her.
“Giving them a book stimulates their interest in reading,” she said.
The Young Parents’ Program is for teenage parents who are studying for their Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning.
Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN executive officer Tim Shaw said the Let’s Read program had been implemented in Yarriambiack Shire.
He said maternal and child health nurses had distributed books and resources to about 50 babies and their families since it started in February.
“We have set up a steering committee in Hindmarsh Shire to plan and implement the program,” Mr Shaw said.
“We are also setting the program up in West Wimmera Shire and have started talks with Horsham Rural City Council, schools and stakeholders to plan and implement the program in Horsham.”
The organisation aims to have the program embedded in all four municipalities before the end of the year.
He said the literacy level of many children in the region was below the national average.
“Our long-term goal is to support our children to become strong readers and that our literacy levels are above the national average,” he said.