ACT News

E-readers set young on road to love of books

Forrest Primary year 6 student Jade Lewis sometimes started a book, but rarely finished it.

She did not get excited about reading and her mum Amanda worried she would never catch the "reading bug" - no matter how much she encouraged her daughter.

As the only ACT indigenous student selected to take part in last year's national trial of the Indigenous Reading Project, Jade jumped at the chance to take an e-reader home.

Now, her mother proudly reports, Jade seems to have her nose buried in a treasure of books she downloads on her favourite electronic device.

Jade's teacher Sue Plaistowe is confident Jade is now well prepared to begin high school this year, having improved her reading comprehension and fluency as a result of the program.

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Her improvements are also having a flow-on effect - to her eight-year-old brother Darcy, who can often be found curled up beside his big sister trying to read over her shoulder.

"Jade, when I am in year 6 will I be able to get a Kindle?" he asks.

Ms Lewis said she hoped the opportunity to take part in the Indigenous Reading Project will be available to her son, as it had changed the way Jade approaches school and had also had a positive impact on the way mother and daughter communicate.

"We have much more communication, and she will read a story and come up to me to talk about it," Ms Lewis said.

"At night I walk past her room and I see a little light shining on the Kindle and she is staying awake reading."

Ms Lewis said that reading had now become an ingrained activity for Jade.

"She comes home from school and does her chores and homework and the usual stuff kids do after school, then she finds herself a nice quiet spot and she reads till bedtime four or five days a week.

''I have also found that she is coming across words that she does not understand and is always asking me their meaning."

Ms Plaistowe said the e-reader also had some other practical advantages.

Jade could download some of her school texts onto the e-reader to lighten the load of books that she had to carry around at school, and as she spends time between home and her grandmother's, she could take her favourite books with her.