Children’s Literacy Strategy

The 2013 State of Bendigo’s Children report indicated that Bendigo’s children, particularly those in the 0-5 age group, rank lower than the Victorian average on a number of developmental indicators, including language development, cognitive skills, communication and general knowledge (by age 6).  Subsequent data since this 2013 report has confirmed that literacy and language levels for Greater Bendigo children aged 0 to 5 years are lower than the Victorian average, which is why Communities for Children have identified addressing children’s language and literacy as a key outcome area.

The Early Years Literacy and Language Development Strategy and Action Plan was developed in 2015 by Communities for Children (C4C) Bendigo, to address these issues. The strategy brings together research, data and stakeholder feedback. This has been collated into an overview of the key issues impacting on literacy and language development for Bendigo’s children and culminates in an Early Years Literacy and Language Development Action Plan for Bendigo. The primary goal of the strategy and action plan are to improve literacy and language development outcomes for children aged 0-5 (particularly 0-3 year olds) across Bendigo from all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.

The C4C Early Years Literacy and Language Development Strategy for Bendigo aims to do the following:

  • Articulate the issues and consequences of poor literacy and language skills
  • Identify and summarise key data pertaining to the current situation, locally and nationally, in relation to children’s literacy and language levels
  • Highlight key priorities for improving literacy and language development in Bendigo

Make recommendations for practical actions to address these priorities.

The Action Plan, contained in the second section of the strategy, outlines a number of key recommendations. A number of these reccomendations have now been established including:

  •  Imagination library for Bendigo and Heathcote, providing one book per child per month for the first five years of life. Both of these programs are continuing to advocate for funding to expand
  • Over 80 Book Box Libraries across the municipality. Book Box Libraries are mini libraries where donated children’s books are provided for free to borrow and share. These book boxes are located in public spaces, services and businesses where children and families need to wait.
  • The development of an early years literacy resource website for parents, support workers and the broader community. This website is now live and can be found at:
    http://bendigoreads.com.au/

The strategy also articulates the socio-economic consequences of not addressing children’s literacy. We can invest now, ensuring positive conditions for healthy future development, or pay significantly more later in the form of costly remediation, health care and other interventions, supports and services.

To access the Early Years Literacy and Language Development Strategy, please see the resource section

If you would like to find out more or get involved, please contact:

Gabby Barrett
C4C Language and Literacy Worker
gbarrett@bendigohealth.org.au
p:5454 8396 (direct line Bendigo Health)