Australia has a significant literacy issue. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, around 44% of adults don’t have the necessary literacy skills needed for everyday life and work. Additionally, the Australian Early Development Census shows that 17.3% of Western Australian children are starting school developmentally vulnerable or without the necessary language and cognitive skills.
Children who grow up in a situation of entrenched disadvantage, fall far behind in the literacy skills needed for a successful schooling experience, contributing to these statistics. Research shows that a child’s ability to read and write is set within the first five years of life, meaning by the time a child reaches school, it can already be too late. Children in this situation have higher rates of academic failure, substance abuse, health issues, unemployment and state dependence.
United Way WA’s mission is to battle this and create a future where every person is empowered to grow through education. Education is fundamental for a prosperous and spirited community and is hence one of the three pillars that UWWA is built around. UWWA aspires to make a difference by supporting a diverse number of early childhood literacy and reading programs within the community. UWWA works with local businesses, politicians, community groups, libraries and parent groups, with the ambition of filling gaps and empowering families to develop literacy skills with their children.
One of our flagship programs is Paint the Town REaD; a national, grassroots initiative promoting early childhood literacy ideas, information and activities by engaging local communities. The primary goals are to encourage the whole community to talk, read, sing, rhyme and play with children every day from birth, to support reading and writing skills in time for school. United Way WA is the State Ambassador for this program, assisting new communities in the creation, establishment and growth of their own early childhood literacy movement.
Another outstanding initiative is Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library which aims to ensure that disadvantaged children have access to books at home by signing them up to receive a free, age appropriate book, chosen by experts, along with parent resources and tip sheets every month, from birth until their fifth birthday. As the State Ambassador for this program, United Way WA works with local communities to set up, fund and grow Imagination Libraries across WA to empower early childhood literacy.
Join us in or goal to eliminate illiteracy in our communites, DONATE today and be a changemaker in 2020