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Improving Reading Culture Among Students

8 January 2024

Improving Reading Culture Among Students

By Amanda Banister and Rachael Hood

Townsville Catholic Education (TCE) believes that literacy is a human right intrinsically important for human development and well-being and works with school staff to develop a strong reading culture in all of our schools.

Reading is fundamental to a student’s ability to engage and learn at school. As students become literate they are able to interpret and use language confidently allowing for effective participation in society. 

TCE’s Literacy Position Statement

Improving the reading culture among students is imperative. TCE has published a Literacy Position Statement and associated guidance documents (Years P-2, 3-6 & 7-9) to assist schools to prioritise literacy development and improve reading among students. Teachers are provided with clear direction regarding evidence-based quality teaching and learning reading experiences for students in Prep to Year 12. The position statement and guidance documents address key Australian Curriculum changes.

The Australian Curriculum states that “the English curriculum plays an important part in developing the understanding, attitudes and capabilities of those who will take responsibility for Australia’s future.”

What is the Importance of Reading for Students?

There are many benefits of developing a strong reading culture and TCE knows that a focus on literacy in schools and at home is critical.  Academic success is dependent on competent reading skills. When children can read well, they build their capacity to learn and build greater knowledge and skills. Reading is used across all learning/subject areas and when a child struggles with reading, they struggle in school and more broadly in life. Reading competence is a protective factor for mental health and wellbeing.

Being able to read well benefits us all by:

  • increasing vocabulary and comprehension
  • enhancing communication skills
  • supporting academic and life success
  • increasing our ability to empathise
  • reducing stress
  • developing creativity and imagination
  • heightening cultural and diversity awareness
  • establishing lifelong learning habits
  • assisting with regular sleep routines (books as opposed to screens which can disrupt sleep)
  • increasing career choices and opportunities

TCE works with schools to develop a strong reading culture where the impact of reading on student achievement is understood by all and informs the schools’ shared vision; and where reading is celebrated, appreciated and seen as the bedrock of the curriculum.

How to Improve Reading Culture Among Students

Creating a Reading-Friendly Environment - including incorporating technology

TCE schools are resourced with a myriad of high quality reading materials. Our school libraries are valued and encourage our students to engage in and read for pleasure and learning. Students have access to a wide range of up to date, diverse, and appealing fiction and non-fiction, print and digital books in school and classroom libraries. Our school library staff are knowledgeable about children’s literature and share their expertise with staff. Several online platforms such as Sora are available for teachers to access digitised books. TCE libraries and staff are at the heart of reading promotion and developing a reading culture in our schools. Many classrooms also have reading areas and class libraries and teachers regularly read aloud to students. 

Promoting Reading as a Social Activity

Reading can also be encouraged as a social experience. Conversing about books is a fabulous way to create a reading community within schools and homes. TCE promotes that students are given regular opportunities to talk about books and celebrate books. Interacting with published authors and participating in local community literary events are exciting ways to build the excitement about reading and learning. 

Incorporating Reading across the Curriculum

Townsville Catholic Education understands that reading is imperative in every learning area and subject and promotes every student in every school experiencing:

  • Robust Tier 1 instruction (good first teaching for all)
  • Explicit instruction for skill development
  • Daily review / spaced practice
  • Rich discussions about books
  • Timely feedback
  • Teachers reading aloud for enjoyment
  • Front-ended vocabulary instruction in all curriculum areas
  • Opportunities to compose and comprehend text
  • Motivating, inclusive learning environments that support literacy including access to
    • co-constructed anchor charts
    • high quality literature
    • subject specific texts
Encouraging Parental Involvement

TCE highlights the importance of families in the development of reading skills across the phases of schooling.  Language and vocabulary development is a particularly important part of child development. Learning to understand, use and enjoy language is the first step in literacy development. Strong language skills are the building blocks of reading. Families can support ongoing language and reading development at by:

  • having frequent conversations with children
  • asking children questions and encouraging them to question things
  • using sophisticated language with children as they grow. This introduces them to a wide and increasingly complex vocabulary
  • reading books and sharing stories with children of all ages
  • modelling reading for pleasure
  • gifting books to Prep-Year 12 children
  • having family reading nights with screens off

If parents are concerned about their child’s language development, they should talk with their child’s teacher and GP who may refer to a speech and language pathologist. Addressing any delays in language development is critical for ongoing literacy success.

Measuring Progress and Success

Monitoring students’ progress and success in reading is essential.  Data-informed practice in schools is a key determiner of student success.  Townsville Catholic Education has invested in TCE Datahub - a digital platform to assist teachers to monitor student progress and inform their next steps of learning and teaching. Our Prep-Year 2 teachers also engage in the Early Years Screening and respond to data collected in an intentional way. Schools are encouraged to analyse student data in order to set improvement targets and goals. 

Let’s work together to support our readers

Improving reading is a joint effort between schools and families. TCE encourages schools and families to work together to enhance the reading skills of children. TCE’s Learning and Teaching Team are available to assist. If you have any questions, please email

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