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The Secret Power of Reading at TGS

Imaginations were running wild as a myriad of characters transformed Toowoomba Grammar School Junior School into its very own storybook on Thursday, 22 August as part of Book Week celebrations.

Staff and students spend hours turning their classrooms into a magical wonderland based on popular books the students have read this year.

“Reading is My Secret Power” is the year’s theme for the nationally-celebrated Book Week but Toowoomba Grammar School certainly doesn’t need Book Week to unleash the ‘Secret Power of Reading.’

The School has numerous strategies in place to ensure both Junior and Senior School students are exposed to reading and that they understand the benefits of enjoying a good book.

Research shows that learning to read is one of the most important factors in school success and that an early exposure to books and stories substantially contributes to success in early literacy.  There are strong links between literacy, school performance, self-esteem and life chances with poor literacy skills being linked with lower education, earnings, health and social outcomes, according to Better Beginnings, Literacy and Reading.

The Australian Early Development Census shows that 17.3% of five year old children starting school are developmentally vulnerable or at risk in their language and cognitive skills.

A Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, released in 2017, gauged the literacy skills of 580,000 year 4 students in 50 countries. Australia ranked 21st in the study, with 7% of students in year 4 not reaching the “low benchmark”, unchanged from 2011. Indigenous students were far worse off than non-Indigenous students, with only 57% of Indigenous students reaching the intermediate literacy benchmark compared to 83% of non-Indigenous students.

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that 44% of Australian adults don’t have the literacy skills they need to cope with the demands of everyday life and work and a survey by the Australian Industry Group, carried out as part of their National Workforce Literacy Project in 2010 found that more that 75% of employers reported that their business was affected by low levels of literacy and numeracy.

Reading aloud to children is the single most important activity for building the skills and knowledge necessary for children to successfully learn to read; children who are good readers are usually successful learners