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ECU research results in $6.8 million funding for Better Beginnings

Monday, 31 May 2010

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More than $6.8 million in funding has been secured for the Better Beginnings family literacy program thanks to ECU researchers.

WA Minister for Culture and the Arts, Hon John Day, made the announcement last week following the unveiling of the 2010/2011 State Budget.

The Better Beginnings program was developed by the State Library of Western Australia and works with health professionals, local governments and public libraries to support parents and encourage a love of reading and language among young children.

Headed up by Associate Professor, Caroline Barratt-Pugh, ECU’s research team has been evaluating the program since its inception in 2005. 

“Over the past four years we have worked with more than 300 parents,” said Professor Barratt-Pugh.

“Our research has demonstrated that the Better Beginnings program has had a significant positive impact on early reading practices, confidence and beliefs across Western Australia and this evidence has been instrumental in securing the program's sustainability.”

The $6.8 million will be allocated over four years with further funding possible in the future.

The aim is to make the Better Beginnings program  universal across Western Australia for all families with children aged 0-5.  

The extended program has the potential to reach almost 60,000 children annually across the State, making it the most extensive literacy program of its kind in Australia.

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