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The Smith Family's Central West program helps young children lay the foundation for their future learning

25 October, 2015.

Ten Minutes a Day launches in Orange and Mudgee this week as The Smith Family expands the early literacy program into the Central West to help parents and carers of young children (aged 0-5) to lay the foundation for their children’s future learning.

Research shows that one in five Australian children start school behind, poorly equipped to benefit from learning, employment and social opportunities which are opened up through literacy.

The Smith Family will assist Orange City Library and Mid-Western Regional Council Library to facilitate the Ten Minutes a Day program, which includes weekly story time sessions for parents and their children, as well as age-appropriate book packs for loan, all thanks to a grant of $30,000 from Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation.

Charitable Foundation Executive Officer, Jason Bourke, said, “The Ten Minutes a Day program was designed to educate parents and carers about the importance of reading to children at an early age and the Foundation is delighted to help establish the program in the Central West and a number of other regional communities," Mr Bourke said.

Early literacy skills are a predictor of later literacy and academic achievement and we know that those who don’t arrive at school ready to take full advantage of learning opportunities sometimes never catch up

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"There is a strong base of evidence showing the benefits of providing literary-rich environments for young children, with significant benefits for children who are read to on a daily basis, and the Ten Minutes a Day program helps parents make this important investment in their children’s future," he said.

The Smith Family’s Acting CEO, Wendy Field, said the Ten Minutes a Day program aims to provide resources and support to encourage parents to have fun reading with their young children, to help develop a love of books.

"Early literacy skills are a predictor of later literacy and academic achievement and we know that those who don’t arrive at school ready to take full advantage of learning opportunities sometimes never catch up," said Ms. Field.

"Thanks to Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation, parents and carers of young children in Orange and Mudgee can now access the Ten Minutes a Day program to help establish early literacy skills and a love of books early in their children’s lives," added Ms. Field. 

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