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Helpful Tips To Feed The Mind

Education Minister Nick Smith today launched 'Everyday Ways to Make Learning Fun for Kids' - an information pack with helpful tips to lift the reading, writing and maths skills of New Zealand children, at a meeting of community groups at Malfroy Primary School in Rotorua. The information pack is part of the $3 million 'Feed the Mind' campaign and includes 10 pages of tips on how to help children read, write, and do basic maths while in the kitchen, in the car, at the shops, and at the beach.

"Most of the learning young children do is in their homes and communities. This information pack is all about getting families and the communities involved. We have had a fantastic response to the Feed the Mind campaign in the three months since it was launched. This pack will play an important part in the campaign and we hope to see even more improvement in parents' role in their children's learning."

Research on the Feed the Mind campaign has already shown impressive results including:

 An 11% increase in parents recognising the importance of children's literacy (up to 74%)

 A 23% increase in the number of Pacific parents recognising the importance of children's literacy (up to 71%)

 80% of parents now acknowledge the contribution they can make to their children's learning (up by 14%)

 The number of parents who are worried they might do they wrong thing when helping their children has dropped by 18% (to 33%)

 A 12% drop in the number of parents who say helping their children is too hard (to 30%)

 A 15% drop in the number of parents who say it costs too much to help their children learn (to 22%)

 Awareness of the Feed the Mind campaign currently stands at 41% of the target audience

"Last night I released an Education Review Office report which showed boys are under-achieving in our education system. Of particular concern is that boys make up two thirds of the number of pupils on reading recovery. Parents need to realise that it is just as important to read to your sons as it is to your daughters. Boy's need to turn off the Simpsons, put down Action Man and pick up some books."

A letter from Dr Smith, plus a copy of the 'helpful tips' information pack (in English and Maori) has been sent to over 10,000 targeted community groups and individuals, including early childhood centres, libraries, Maori and Pacific Island groups, Plunket branches, Grey Power, community help groups such as Citizens' Advice Bureaux, school trustees and schools, churches, and government agencies. The Feed the Mind campaign is just one part of the Government's $35 million literacy initiative launched in October 1998.

"The success of our children is everybody's responsibility. It's easy, and it's fun, for everybody around young children to help them learn."

ENDS

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