Spotlight on student literacy as Premier’s Reading Challenge relaunches

05 May 2022

Majella students and Premier Mark McGowan

Catholic Education WA students will join thousands of keen readers from across the state as the Premier’s Reading Challenge returns for the first time in eight years.

Premier Mark McGowan has announced a new chapter for the reading challenge, relaunching the initiative for all West Australian schools and students from kindergarten to Year 10.

Participants are encouraged to read and log at least 12 books between May 5 and September 9 to be eligible to go into the draw to win prizes.

Mr McGowan said the challenge was an opportunity to develop students’ literacy skills and fuel their imaginations.

“We want children and young people to be inspired to pick up books throughout their lives, and learn early on that reading is a pleasure that really can help take you anywhere.”

Catholic Education WA Executive Director Debra Sayce welcomed the return of the Premier’s Reading Challenge and encouraged all CEWA schools to join the initiative.

“Instilling a lifelong love of reading in young people is fundamental to developing sound literacy skills,” Dr Sayce said.

“The Premier’s Reading Challenge is an important campaign that aims to engage all West Australian students in the joy of regular reading, whether they’re avid bookworms or reluctant readers.”

Majella Catholic Primary School Principal David Barns said literacy initiatives like the Premier’s Reading Challenge were especially important in multicultural schools like Majella, where 80% of children speak languages other than English as their first language.

“Any initiative like the Premier’s Reading Challenge is really important because it not only promotes reading but supports reading in a fun, engaging way,” he said.

“There are no shortcuts in how children learn to read. The only way that you’re going to learn to read and get better at reading is by actually reading.”

“There’s no magic about it, but with natural imagination and creativity we all hope that children develop that lifelong love for learning and wanting to read.”

Ursula Frayne Catholic College Coordinator of Library Services, Jean Redfern, said the school was excited to join the Premier’s Reading Challenge.

“Instilling a lifelong love of reading in young people is fundamental to developing sound literacy skills.”

Debra Sayce, CEWA Executive Director

“Reading stimulates a child’s imagination and allows them to escape to different places and worlds,” she said.

“It improves literacy skills and independent readers have greater comprehension, vocabulary and general knowledge.”

The Premier’s Reading Challenge is a collaboration between CEWA, the Department of Education, the Association of Independent Schools WA, ABC Radio Perth and Tourism WA.

It was cancelled in 2014 due to dwindling participation rates.

Students can register online at www.premiersreadingchallenge.wa.edu.au.

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