• Wyatt Creech

Education Minister Wyatt Creech is welcoming new research which shows the "Books in Homes" scheme is delivering for the young people hooked into the programme.

"It is encouraging to see that just 12 months after the pupils who've taken part in the programme are getting real benefits," Mr Creech said.

Books in Homes is run by the Alan Duff Charitable Foundation and provides books for students in schools in low socio-economic areas. 135 schools are involved. Each child in the school receives at least four books a year from the scheme.

"The programme puts books in the hands of children for them to take home to keep. It also encourages parents to support their children in good reading habits.

"The research by Emeritus Professor Warwick Elley backs up anecdotal evidence that this scheme is working for these young people and improving their reading levels.

"The Books in Homes programme is exciting and innovative and gets children, who might have had less interest than before, really hooked into reading."

Mr Creech said the programme has been successful both in attitude change and actual improvement of the reading achievement levels of children in all the schools.

"This sort of programme has a valuable role in supplementing other work going on in schools to help all students lift their reading levels," Mr Creech said.

The Government committed $250,000 for the programme in 1996, and further funding in this year's Budget of $900,000 over three years.