1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2012  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/05/2012   
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National Year of Reading

In 2012, Australia celebrates the National Year of Reading. This feature article recognises the year and is in two parts. The first part describes the role of libraries in helping to make Australia a nation of readers and was contributed by Paula Kelly of the State Library of Victoria and Sue McKerracher, Director of the Library Agency. The second part considers reading in a home and family context and was contributed by Dr Killian Mullan and Dr Galina Daraganova of the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

A special article, Cherbourg State School Language for Life project, also recognises the National year of Reading and can be found in chapter 3 ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLES.

The 2012 National Year of Reading provides a focus for the libraries and library associations of Australia, in partnership with governments, the media, writers, schools, publishers, booksellers and others, to encourage reading throughout the community.

The National Year of Reading campaign has the broad vision of Australia as a nation of readers. It addresses a concern that many Australians lack the literacy skills to participate fully in modern society, as highlighted by the 2006 ABS Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey finding that nearly half of Australia’s adult population lacked the minimum literacy skills necessary to meet the complex demands of everyday life and work.

Kelly and McKerracher’s essay looks at how Australian libraries are promoting a culture of reading, and in particular, how their participation in the National Year of Reading is contributing to this goal. The article emphasises the key role that libraries play in promoting reading within the community and highlights the range of programs being undertaken to ensure that everyone has access to reading material and is encouraged to read.

Mullan and Daraganova’s essay draws on data from Growing up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children and examines the factors that influence reading in the critical childhood years. While most children enjoy reading and a substantial minority read every day, a small but persistent group of children neither read nor enjoy reading. The article highlights the ongoing benefits of parents reading to their children when they are very young.


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Statistics contained in the Year Book are the most recent available at the time of preparation. In many cases, the ABS website and the websites of other organisations provide access to more recent data. Each Year Book table or graph and the bibliography at the end of each chapter provides hyperlinks to the most up to date data release where available.