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Over 7,500 new books will be available to primary school students and their fathers in the Cudgegong Learning Community this year, through the Mudgee Dads Take Home Reading Project.

The project encourages fathers and other male role models to become actively involved in their child’s education by reading books with them every week.

Alan Walker, Gulgong Public School Principal and Mudgee Dads Take Home Reading Project Manager, has witnessed the program’s success since it was launched locally in 2009.  

“Establishing a regular pattern of quality time a child spends with their dad has positive effects on the student’s education, relationships and emotional development,” Alan says.

A Lifewise survey released in February this year found 71% of Australian fathers spent less than four hours a day with their children dedicated to “parenting” duties (compared with 43% of mothers)[1]. A recent Early Child Development and Care journal study revealed that fathers who spent significant time with their children said they felt the youngsters' well-being was improved and their own sense of worth rose[2].

“Our Take Home Reading Project has become extremely popular among students, fathers and teachers alike,” Alan comments.

“Keeping students interested in reading plays a huge role in their educational development. I believe two factors are at play here that really engage the child. Firstly, the time with dad, and secondly, the new materials and books we are able to provide.”

This year, Xstrata Coal donated $75,000 to the Mudgee Dads Take Home Reading Project for the sole purpose of buying new materials. Thanks to this funding, each student involved will have access to between 20 – 25 new books throughout the year. 

Alan comments, “Motivation is a key driving force behind the project. Having brand new titles that cover various special interest areas like BMX bikes, for example, help foster a genuine relationship between the child and books. This makes the experience of reading with their dad even more rewarding.”

Reports from many schools indicate reading levels are improving across the board. For example, last year every K-2 student at Hargraves Primary School achieved above the regional benchmark, and Cudgegong Valley Primary School kindergarten reading results improved 20%. A number of schools reported an increase in parental volunteers as well.

Nineteen primary schools and 331 Year Two students in the Mudgee area will participate in the Mudgee Dads Take Home Reading Project this year. Over 900 students will have been involved by the conclusion of the project in 2012.



[1]Lifewise, February 2010, www.lifewise.org.au

[2]Early Child Development and CareJournal, Father Involvement – The Importance of Paternal Solo Care, December 2010, Volume 180, Issue 10

Published: Mar 29, 2011 10:40am by allypr.

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