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Kindy Kids to Benefit from Fairfax First Books

MEDIA RELEASE

7 June 2006


Kindy Kids to Benefit from Fairfax First Books

Hon. Steve Maharey, Minister of Education, joined Fairfax Media in today launching a new literacy initiative that will get books into the hands of thousands of New Zealand pre-schoolers.

Fairfax First Books will see every child who attends a low decile kindergarten receive a new story book of their very own each term – four books per year.

4,500 young New Zealand children will qualify to receive the books, meaning Fairfax will distribute around 18,000 books to some of the nation’s neediest children in association with New Zealand Kindergarten’s Incorporated.

Fairfax First Books aims to give pre-school children the opportunity to read and, more importantly, own books before starting school and to be able to share the joy of reading with other members of their families.

Fairfax Media Chief Executive Joan Withers says, “Reading and learning are not only a big part of our business, they are essential tools for life. If our young people miss out on this foundation to learning, then the affects can impact negatively on their communication skills for the rest of their lives. Fairfax First Books is aimed at improving the reading levels of under five year olds and to promoting reading within their families.”

Fairfax recognises that reducing the number of children who enter school with poor literacy knowledge and experience is an important first step towards avoiding future reading difficulties and the associated social and employment problems that can follow. Withers says, “We hope Fairfax First Books will take some of the pressure off the primary school sector by ensuring new entrants are better prepared to learn and thrive in the school environment.

“Fairfax Media is part of every New Zealand community through our stable of daily newspapers, community newspapers, magazines, specialist publications and online site and we’re delighted to reinforce our connections with those communities by making this contribution to the futures of their youngest members.”

The books the children will receive are high quality, hard cover titles from the ‘Little Red House’ series which is written and illustrated by New Zealand authors and artists.

Fairfax will support the launch of Fairfax First Books through an awareness campaign in Fairfax newspapers. The “Have you read to a child today?” campaign is aimed at encouraging adults to establish good reading habits in children by reading to them on a regular basis.


ENDS

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