TRANSFORMING square eyes into bookworms is on track with more than 4000 books donated to students at Glenroi Heights and Bowen public schools.
The 450 students were given three books of their choosing on Friday and will receive another three in term four, followed by another three in term one next year as part of a Books in Homes Australia reading program.
The Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation provided the $31,000 to fund the books and executive officer Jason Bourke said the organisation wanted to help two of the more disadvantaged schools in the Orange area.
According to 2012 Australian Early Development Index Data, 14.3 per cent of Glenroi Heights students were developmentally vulnerable in language and cognitive skills.
“Obviously there’s a lot of research to show that literacy improves life outcomes in higher education through to employment,” Mr Bourke said.
“A big part of the program is they’ll be taking care of the books - they’re not their mum’s books, they’re not the library’s books, they’re their books.”
Books in Homes divisional operations manager Danny Lee told Bowen Public School students reading was a lifelong skill.
“For one day in the next five days, I want you to say ‘I don’t want to watch television’ or ‘I don’t want to play with my iPad, I want to read these books’,” he said.
Bowen Public School relieving principal Tracey Graves said, while the school always aimed to improve learning outcomes, children came from a range of backgrounds and abilities.
“Many students are coming to school well-read, other children are being exposed to books for the first time at school, and everything in between,” she said.
“It would be wonderful if parents read to their children at night.”
The students chose their books according to their age group.