Literacy is important for everyone, having a good reading comprehension is fantastic! Australia’s literacy rate is at 96%, with both male and female at 96% giving it a 0% difference, with the world statistic at 86.1%. Overall literacy is something that we use everyday, we read everyday no matter if it’s a book or words on a sign. Our understanding of our native language is important and wanting to read and the promotion of reading is important too.
I was given three statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) the first one Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, Australia, 2011-12 which is the first link already and looks at adult Australians literacy, the second link is the Arts and Culture in Australia: A Statistical Overview, 2011 about how many books 15 to 65 and older have read in the past week (including magazines, books and newspapers) and lastly, the third link is the Year Book Australia, 2012 which looks at the literacy levels of children in Australia.
The first pile of statistics is about adults (18 – 65 and over) and how they read. It was a survey conducted between 2011 – 2012 and they were asked to do a certain number of tasks to test their skills in literacy, numeracy and PSTRE (problem solving in technology-rich environments). A lot of the information and background you can read yourself (hey rising the literacy in your country, I’m helping you out here), but essentially a tl;dr (too long didn’t read); for literacy Australians between the ages of 15 to 74 only 3.7% had literacy skills below level 1, 10% were at level 1, 30% at level 2, 38% at level 3, 14% at level 4 and 1.2% at level 5 with below level 1 as the lowest literacy skills and level 5 being the highest literacy skills.
Numeracy was higher but still on the same slope. Around 6.5% were below level 1, 15% at level 1, 32% at level 2, 31% at level 3, 11% at level 4 and 1.4% at level 5. Lastly PSTRE was sorted in four levels, but was still the same for non classified/below level 1 was the lowest and level 3 was the highest. Estimated at 25% of Australians between the ages of 15 and 74 weren’t classified, 13% are below level 1, 31% at level 1, 24% at level 2 and 3.2% at level 3. The statistics talk about sex, age and state/territory.
The next set of statistics are based on arts and culture. With women reading more both books and magazines whereas men read more newspapers with a difference of 2.7%. More people read newspapers then magazines and books, with 45 to 64 being the highest age group out of the others who read magazines, books or newspapers, and the education of these age groups who completed university or higher had the highest reading percentage. Down the site they speak of children who read for fun with the highest at 11 year old females, and 9 year old males; however overall females have a higher percentage of reading for leisure. The statistic was based off of children aged 5 to 14, who read outside of school hours two weeks prior to the interview of the statistic.
Lastly, the ABS gathers statistics of children and reading. they focused on children aged 10 to 11 and they wrote down four requirements:
- Children who love reading and will read for leisure on their diary day.
- Children who love reading but don’t read for leisure on their diary day.
- Children who don’t love reading but read for leisure on their diary day.
- Children who don’t love reading and didn’t read for leisure on their diary day.
They had a large amount of statistics, where boys read more then girls; however it’s a small difference as it’s 2%. More children read if they’re parent doesn’t have a degree of sorts, and if their mother’s language at home is English. If a child went to the library between the ages of 4 to 5 they were more likely to read (53%) compared to those who didn’t (47%) though this is a 6% difference so nothing off the scales. Except for how many books were in the household between those ages, if there were more than 30 books in the household there was an 85%, whereas if there were between 0 to 29 books, the percentage dropped to 15% – a difference of 70%.
In the actual bulk of things, in all of the stats given by gender, parental education, mother’s employment status, mother’s spoken language at home, family type (dual parent vs. single parent), how many books were at home and how many library visits there were between the ages of 4 to 5, how many times a week they were read to/reading more children enjoyed reading but didn’t read for leisure on diary days. They asked what the children were doing when they weren’t reading; tv, sport and video games (defined as computer games) were higher with non readers then readers (a small percentage), however it changes to a large percentage of readers who do homework or play board games.
Overall, the statistics aren’t surprising, as of course children who are surrounded by books will be willing to read more for fun, as well as adults who have a small numeracy, literacy and computer skills. It’s all very interesting on the statistics they gained from this.
There are other places that promote reading/literacy, Elementary Library Routine has a wiki and they asked users to submit how they promoted reading/books in their library, with a title of what the promotion was called like one is called the ‘Bobcat Book Reviews‘ another is called the ‘Texas Reading Club‘. Next there’s description of what they did, like one community had many citizens and their different organisation host read ins for Black History Month, and lastly a file or a link that explains what they did.
Another form of promotion is the Lifelong Readers website, which was funded by the European commission, just an interesting fact for you. They have a few links to click on, but the most interesting one is Suggested Reading Promotion Activities/Actions, where they have 7 links to choose from: Reaching Disadvantage Pupils, Multilingual Activities, Addressing Boy’s Needs and Interests, Involving Parents, Utilising ICT for Reading Promotions, Familiarising Children with Library Use and lastly All Activities. In All Activities they have 102 activities to chose from for different promotions with each 6 categories.
One website which you can see what others have done is Pinterest, Wendy Watts Scalfaro compiled a pin board of some reading promotion ideas. There are so many good ideas in this pin, but a lot of it is the ‘blind date with a book’, which personally is a fun thing but it’s very over done and I’ve seen it countless times so you kind of get bored of seeing the same thing; however this board doesn’t just have that which is nice.
Promoting reading is important, as like I’ve said if we don’t read and we don’t have a good reading comprehension then language is going down the drain as we know it! However, language does change and evolve as slang terms become common usage and who knows what will change in the next five, ten, fifteen, twenty years.