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Sally Rippin’s mission to get more kids reading

Bestselling children’s author Sally Rippin, believes ‘all kids can be readers’ – and has a clear mission in her new role as the 2024-2025 Australian Children’s Laureate. 

Sally Rippin has announced her mission as the new Australian Children’s Laureate for 2024-2025: ‘All kids can be readers!’. During her term as Laureate, she aims to ensure children can access reading in any way they choose.

“All reading is reading,” she stated in her launch speech at The Wheeler Centre, “whether a child chooses comics, cookbooks or catalogues.”

The Children’s Laureate has revealed the three key pillars of her campaign:

  1. The importance of early identification and intervention.
  2. The importance of advocacy and accommodations in the classroom for neurodivergent children and those with learning difficulties.
  3. Understanding and appreciating the strengths of neurodivergence, as well as the challenges.

 

New research shows that a third of Australian children can’t read properly.[1]  Sally acknowledged that the best-case scenario for classrooms was children being given explicit reading instruction within the first three years of schooling.

Sally spoke poignantly about the struggles her son experienced during his high school years and the late diagnosis of his dyslexia. 

She stated it was essential we get better at “identifying children who might need early intervention, or extra support, as soon as possible, otherwise, as I learned through watching my son’s struggles during his high school years, the outcome can be devastating.”

“I would really love for kids who struggle with reading not to feel shamed, or lesser, and for the adults around them to ensure they still have access to great stories, in whatever form they can best be shared.”

Australia Reads supports Sally’s mission to ensure that all children have access to the life-changing benefits of reading. Reading for pleasure has proven benefits, with those who read reporting they had higher levels of self-esteem, were less lonely, and could empathise more with others.[2]

Research shows that children who are more exposed to books in the home showed a greater inclination to read for pleasure and, in turn, had more advanced literacy skills [3], and that allowing children to self-select their reading material leads to higher levels of engagement.[4]

In her two-year term as Laureate, Sally will travel around Australia to meet with children, parents, teachers and librarians. You can learn more about Sally and her Laureate mission on the ACLF website.

 

[1]Hunter, J., Stobart, A., Haywood, A. ‘The Reading Guarantee: How to give every child the best chance of success’, Grattan Institute, February 2024
[2] Billington, J., ‘Reading between the Lines: the Benefits of Reading for Pleasure’, University of Liverpool, 2015
[3] Tremblay, B. & Rodrigues, ML. & Martin-Chang, S. ‘From Storybooks to Novels: A Retrospective Approach Linking Print Exposure in Childhood to Adolescence’. Frontiers in Psychology. September 2020
[4]Scholastic, Kids and Family Reading Report, 2019 (US)