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About First 5 Forever

About First 5 Forever

The first 5 years last a lifetime. Talk, play, sing, read.

  • First 5 Forever (formerly Best Start) is a universal family literacy program aimed at creating stronger language and literacy environments for Queensland children before they start kindergarten and school.
  • First 5 Forever supports parents and primary caregivers to understand their role and be confident as their child’s first and most important teacher before and during formal education.
  • First 5 Forever programs, resources and services are rolling out across Queensland public libraries and Indigenous Knowledge Centres and include.
    • More places at quality Baby Time, Toddler Time and Story Time sessions
    • A parent and caregiver toolkit with an age appropriate book, fact sheets, a nursery rhyme CD book, and a play-based activity
    • Programs that partner with local Early Childhood educators, Child Health Nurses and community services to support parents and caregivers
  • The First 5 Forever program has been informed by four years of practical research and evaluation of family literacy practice in public libraries.
  • The First 5 Forever family literacy initiative is proudly supported by Queensland Government, State Library of Queensland and delivered in partnership with local government, public libraries and their local partners.

First 5 Forever Bundaberg

About parents’ and caregivers’ important role

  • Parents and primary caregivers are their child’s first and most important teacher.
  • Nurture your child’s love of language by reading together, sharing rhymes, singing songs, telling stories or playing with them. This interaction is critical and can happen every day and anytime.
  • Being read to at an early age is critical in terms of a child’s social, cognitive, emotional and language development, and their overall well-being. (Let’s Read Literature Review, 2013)
  • When fathers are involved with their child’s literacy education from a young age, their child demonstrates increased cognitive abilities, higher self-esteem and greater social competence. (Ortiz, 2000)
  • Reading with children is the single most important activity families can do with their children to help them learn to read and write once they start school. (Let’s Read Literature Review, 2013)
  • Reading is not just about the words in the book; it’s about having fun, talking about what you see, responding to what your child is interested in, and spending time together.
  • Don’t wait until your child starts kindergarten and school! It’s as simple as sharing a book, singing nursery rhymes and talking to your child from birth to give them the best start in life.

What research tells us?

  • Research shows that a child’s language development before age 3 is the single most important factor in school success. www.literacytrust.org.uk
  • Children who experience difficulties learning to read are unlikely to catch up to their peers and the gap will continue to widen. (Let’s Read Literature Review, 2013)
  • In Queensland approximately 36% of parents of 0-2-year-olds, and 52% of parents of 3-8-year-olds do not regularly read to their children. (Snapshot 2013: Children & Young People in Queensland Report)
  • During the first 3 years, a child’s brain undergoes significant development. To provide a strong brain structure for future learning, children need experiences such as sharing books, talking together, singing songs and time interacting with important adults in their life. (Let’s Read Literature Review, 2013)
  • Almost one in four Queensland children are not at the right language and literacy level when they start school and many never catch up. (Let’s Read Literature Review, 2013)
  • Research shows us that investing in emergent literacy skills (before children start school) is far more beneficial than attempting to treat poor literacy outcomes remedially for children when they are older. (Let’s Read Literature Review, 2013)

First 5 Forever is an initiative of the Queensland Government and the State Library of Queensland.

This blog has been written as one in a series of articles aimed at increasing the knowledge and skills of parents and early childhood educators within the Bundaberg Region and is part of Bundaberg Regional Libraries First 5 Forever Project.   

Talk, play, sing, read. Any place, any time. It’s never too early to talk, read and share stories.


Angela Stedman is a working mum of two boys, Lucas 4 and Joshua 2. Angela has been working in Advertising, Business & Project Development for over 10 years and is the brains behind Wide Bay Kids and it's not-for-profit activities.

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