Tony Martin

Book bank opens doors to Clarence Valley schools

DYMOCKS Children's Charities Book Bank will be launched on Tuesday at Ulmarra and Coutts Crossing Public Schools, and will give students from Years 3 to 6 the chance to choose a brand new book each term.

Reading is one of the fundamental skills in children's education, but in Australia close to one in five children will start school at risk in their language and communication skills.

Dymocks Children's Charities general manager Paul Swain said their literacy program, Book Bank, aims to improve literacy with early intervention, by getting kids in the habit of reading by providing new, quality books they're interested in.

"Young kids want the best and most interesting books, and if they can't get them at home and struggle to get them at school, it can be hard to raise their interest in reading, and their reading skills suffer," Mr Swain said.

"One of the challenges is to get kids into reading, and the best way to build that is to get them books that they're actually interested in, so they're reading what they want to read, and from there reading can become a lifetime interest."

Mr Swain said there are over 750 books the students can choose from, and once they've read it they write their comments and name in the book to share with their classmates.

At the end of the term students get to keep the book, which means that over the life of the program, each student can get up to 16 new books.

"Literacy is an important education skill, and a foundation skill for learning," Mr Swain said.

"There are a number of different ways to improve literacy, and one of the most simple and most effective way is to get kids interested in reading.

"Given the choice in books, kids are more interested and more likely to read."

Mr Swain said the key factor to build an interest in reading, and improve literacy skills, is the ability for kids to select from good quality books, and books they want to read like ones about the video game Minecraft.

Coutts Crossing and Ulmarra Public are among the first schools nationally to receive program funding from local business Koppers Wood Products.

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