BMG 2021 Grammarian Issue 3

4 S.T.A.R PROGRAM 2022 American intellectual, Mason Cooley, stated that “reading gives us someplace to go, when we have to stay where we are.” – words that no doubt carry additional significance for Victorians after the last two years. Closer to home, renowned Australian author and Order of Australia recipient Mem Fox observes: “The fire of literacy is created by the emotional sparks between a child, a book, and the person reading. It isn’t achieved by the book alone, nor by the child alone, nor by the adult who’s reading aloud – it’s the relationship winding between all three, bringing them together in easy harmony.” We know that reading can be life-changing for children of any age. Studies examining the habits of Kindergarten to Year 12 students have found that just six extra minutes of reading time per day can help a struggling reader reach – and even surpass – the year level’s benchmark. Students in the same study, who read for 15 minutes or more per day, improved their reading skills at an accelerated rate. Research also clearly indicates the positive impact of having reading role models in the home and at school, highlighting the importance of establishing a reading culture among families and the influence this can have on determining literacy outcomes for children. Students of today are faced with many modes of entertainment and live in a fast-paced, information rich world. They have vast technology at their fingertips and can find answers to their questions in seconds with a quick Google search. In many ways, it is understandable that reading for pleasure has taken a backseat for some of them, but it is vital that we encourage students to read as much as possible and do what we can to instil a love for reading that they can take through life. There really is no other skill as important. At Bacchus Marsh Grammar, we support students to achieve their full potential and strive for academic excellence. As reported earlier in the year, this commitment is reflected in our outstanding NAPLAN results, where students in Year 3, 5, 7, 9 performed above state levels in Reading, Writing, Spelling, Grammar and Numeracy. Research clearly links reading ability, in particular, to both educational attainment and wider life outcomes. As part of our continual improvement culture, we regularly analyse student achievement data and look for opportunities to ensure that our students continue to be confident, accomplished readers. As part of this forward-looking work, we have been examining our reading culture.