In primary school, the reading gap between the lowest socio-economic students (SES) and the highest SES is equivalent to almost three years of schooling. With The Smith Family identifying that one in 10 children in Australia grow up in a jobless family, there are 638,000 children at risk of starting school behind their well-off peers and, without the right support, unable to catch up.
Kellogg believes that children deserve to have the best start in life. As part of its new #KelloggsFreeBooks promotion, Kellogg will give at least 5,000 books to The Smith Family's student2student reading program for primary school-aged children.
Student2student was developed by the national children's charity to improve the reading skills and confidence of children in disadvantaged communities who can be up to four years behind their more advantaged peers.
Australian families can contribute to this inspirational charity, simply by purchasing Kellogg products. From February - April, shoppers who buy two boxes of specially marked Kellogg's products at their local supermarket are entitled to redeem a free book from a selection of Penguin children's books. Shoppers can choose to GET their book sent directly to them, GIFT the book to a friend, or GIVE the book to The Smith Family, to be passed on to a disadvantaged child in the student2student reading program.
Kellogg's ambassador and mum of two, Shelley Craft knows the joy of reading as a family and is pleased to be a part of the Kellogg campaign. 'As a mum, it's heartbreaking to think that there are so many Aussie kids struggling with their reading and I passionately believe all kids deserve an equal start to life. In addition to this, some of the most precious moments I have with my girls are when we are reading together. I love sharing my childhood favourites with them. I relive the memories of reading with my parents at the same time," Shelley said
Tamara Howe, Marketing Director at Kellogg Australia is excited that this campaign enables parents to enjoy reading with their children and will also contribute to improving the nation's literacy skills. 'At Kellogg's we passionately believe every child deserves to have the best start in life. The Smith Family's research shows student2student works, and we are pleased to be helping this reading program with the provision of books. We hope that our customers also support this incredible cause," Tamara said.
The Smith Family's General Manager NSW/ACT Steve Macready said that reading skills are crucial to a child's capacity to engage in learning.
'Boosting a child's reading ability and confidence will have long-lasting benefits for them. We do however know that children from disadvantaged backgrounds need extra help to learn and thrive at school," Mr Macready said.
'Many are behind in the reading skills they need when they begin primary school and lack the confidence, ability and resources to catch up and keep up with their peers.
'The Smith Family provides support through programs like student2student which works by matching students who need to improve their reading with peer buddies who help and encourage them with their reading.
'Student readers from Years 3 to 8 are paired with a trained student buddy who listens to their reading over the phone, two to three times per week for 18 weeks.
'Our student2student program is producing outstanding results. Last year we saw 95 per cent of student readers improve their reading. These students are also motivated to read more often, and are becoming more confident in themselves and with completing their school work.
'Thanks to the support of the Australian public and Kellogg, more children will now be able to enjoy this wonderful collection of Penguin books through its student2student program."
Shoppers should visit www.kellogg.com/freebooks to Get, Gift or Give their free book.
For more information on The Smith Family and student2student program visit www.thesmithfamily.com.au