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Books in Homes 10 years old

6 July 2005

We will always need good readers

Books in Homes 10 years old

---------------------------------

Ikaroa-Rawhiti MP and Associate Education Minister Parekura Horomia today welcomed the start of Government Book Week, telling students that good readers were needed more than ever before.

Parekura Horomia told children at Marewa School that science fiction writers had predicted the demise of books with the rise of television and computers.

"I think they got it wrong," said Parekura. "We are still a world dominated by the written word - in books, and newspapers, and added to that now are new forms of communicating in writing like the internet.

"Successful people in this world won't survive without being good readers."

Parekura was visiting as part of the Books in Homes scheme. Books in Homes is a literacy programme benefiting some 80,000 young Kiwi kids. It is aimed at breaking the cycle of 'booklessness' for children in decile 1-3 schools.

The concept is the brainchild of author Alan Duff who noted that many students in low decile schools came from bookless homes and showed little or no interest in reading.

The government contributes almost $1.2 million each year to the programme, which is also supported by more than 300 private sponsors. It has grown from 80 schools and 16,000 students receiving books in 1995, to 442 schools and more than 80,000 students in 2004.

All decile 1-3 schools are eligible to join the programme. Every year each child in the programme receives about five free books of their choice.

"The New Zealand Council for Educational Research evaluated Books in Homes in 2002 and found that virtually every aspect of the programme had beneficial effects for the schools involved," Parekura said.

"This government is determined to lift education standards, and to ensure that every single New Zealander, regardless of their background, has the chance to reach their full potential. We want to improve literacy skills but also encourage kids to think of reading as a fun thing to do.

"The Books in Homes programme is just one of a number of initiatives the government is supporting to improve the reading and writing skills of students."

Attached is a list of government literacy initiatives and key facts about literacy in schools.

ENDS

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