Almost half (46%) of Australians over the age of 15 lack the literacy skills they need to meet the demands of everyday life and work. Furthermore, more than one in five children arrive at school developmentally vulnerable. Research shows that children who fall behind in the first few years of schooling find it very difficult to catch up to their peers even with appropriate intervention.
Establishing the building blocks for literacy starts very early in life and a child’s early literacy skills are a predictor for later literacy and academic achievement. An individuals literacy levels affect their opportunities in life for education, employment, income and well-being. The years before school are often regarded as laying the foundations for literacy success later in life. It is these foundations (emergent literacy) that support children to transition from being pre-literate to being able to read and write. Reading with children from birth is probably the single most important activity in developing a child’s future ability to read and write.
To learn more about the evidence-base on early literacy development see the 2012 Let's Read Research Snapshot. Stay tuned for the release of the 2013 Let's Read Literature Review in May 2013.