Literacy is “fundamental” and should be encouraged at as early an age as possible.
As Tasmania continues to celebrate National Book Week, economist Saul Eslake, who was a self-described “bookish kid” shared his thoughts about the vital nature of literacy.
“The standard of reading proficiency in Tasmania is low compared to other states, we are often seen as lagging behind,” he said.
“But reading [and literacy] is fundamental in two very important ways.”
Mr Eslake said literacy was key to how we communicate with the world around us.
“There wouldn’t be one facet of life that wouldn’t involve some sort of reading,” he said.
Low literacy levels have been linked to a higher rate of potential injury, because people can’t read instructions or hazard warnings.
However, there is another important reason reading should be encourage at a young age.
“It is one of the main ways in which we come to understand the human condition,” Mr Eslake said.
Fiction has an important place in the art world, as it is one of the primary tools that authors use to help convey what makes us human, Mr Eslake said.
The earlier children were exposed to these forms of literacy, the better.
Mr Eslake said he struggled with reading in his early years, until his parents realised he needed glasses.
After that he was “a voracious reader” and still is.
“In this world where a lot of our learning is done on digital devices, reading is even more important,” he said.
National Book Week runs from August 18-24.