Bayside Library Service joins Ardoch's Book Drive for vulnerable children

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A big thanks to Bayside Library Service for joining with Ardoch Youth Foundation to ensure that children in disadvantaged communities start school armed with the most important tools of learning – books. Starting this week, the Brighton, Sandringham, Hampton and Beaumaris libraries will be running book drives encouraging Bayside’s parents and grandparents to donate Australian classics such as The Hungry Caterpillar, The Graffalo, Diary of a Wombat, Why I Love Footy and more for vulnerable Australian children starting school in 2017. The drive will last three weeks.

The drive is a part of Ardoch's Early Years Book Drive for the vulnerable children it supports through its partner eraly years services. Children facing disadvantage often lack easy access to books, which are critical to developing their literacy and language skills. Ardoch has pledged to distribute over 4,000 books through School Readiness Packs to children who start school next year.

Each pack contains 4 to 5 books. Having books at home will encourage parents to read to the children regularly, which research suggests is one of the most effective way of improving children’s reading and cognitive skills.

According to the Australian Early Development Census 2015, one in three Australian children facing disadvantage are starting school developmentally vulnerable, reducing their chances to successfully transition to school. Children who start school behind often stay behind getting trapped in a cycle of disadvantage. In areas such a Frankston North and Geelong, over 40 per cent of the children start school developmentally vulnerable.

Bayside resident and author Emma Bowd, who is Ardoch’s ambassador for the School Readiness Book Drive, approached the libraries to run the drives. “Literacy quite simply transforms lives”, says Emma. “It empowers personal growth and well-being; facilitates social mobility; and fosters a culture of learning and engagement with the wider world. An advanced economy like Australia should be aiming for nothing less than 100% literacy and I am extremely saddened to hear that so many Australian children are struggling with literacy skills”, she adds.

Helping the early education of children can make all the difference to their educational outcomes later in life. The Centre for Community Child Health found that children who start school with poor language and literacy skills spend the rest of their school years trying to catch up, and may never do. Moreover, the 2016 Grattan Institute report “Widening Gaps: What Naplan tells us about student progress” noted that learning gaps widen alarmingly as students move through school and “students in low socioeconomic areas start behind, and make less progress in school”.

Hence, if we want all Australian children to excel at school and realise their potential through education, helping and supporting them through their early years is all important.

You can participate in our drive by:

  • If you live in the Bayside neighbourhoods, you can donate the books at the Brighton, Hampton, Sandringham or Beaumaris libraries. We need books that are new or second hand books in good condition. 
  • You can share this article on your Facebook page with your friends.
  • You can gift a school readiness pack directly to Ardoch through our website. 

Ardoch Youth Foundation is an education charity  that supports children and young people from disadvantaged communities.