Release type: Media Release


National Literacy and Numeracy Week 2013: Better Schools to lift literacy and numeracy skills


The Hon Bill Shorten MP
Minister for Education
Minister for Workplace Relations

Australian students are reaching for the stars in reading, writing and mathematics during National Literacy and Numeracy Week.

In 2013, National Literacy and Numeracy Week will be held from 29 July - 4 August. Schools will be able to take part in literacy and numeracy activities, with participating schools going into the draw to win lots of great prizes provided by sponsors.

In its 15th year, National Literacy and Numeracy Week is an Australian Government initiative which aims to celebrate students learning basic reading, writing and mathematics skills.

Minister for Education Bill Shorten has used National Literacy and Numeracy Week to recognise the important contribution parents, teachers, principals and the school community make to the development of literacy and numeracy skills in our young people.

It is only by working together that we will achieve the Government’s ambitious target for Australia to be in the top five in the world in reading, math and science by 2025.

Currently, the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) results show one in 12 of our kids are not meeting minimum standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

In the OECD PISA tests Australia has slipped from equal 2nd to equal 7th in reading and from equal 5th to equal 13th in mathematics.

The average 15-year-old math student in Australia is more than two years behind a 15-year-old in Shanghai.

Four of the top five school systems in the world are in our region (Hong Kong, Korea, Shanghai and Singapore) – and we want to match them.

Better Schools is about more one on one, individual attention so every kid can reach their full potential.

This is not just an investment in schools, this is a down payment on the long-term strength of the Australian economy.

Better Schools is about more help for kids struggling with literacy and numeracy to ensure they don’t fall behind as well as supporting our high achieving student to do even better.

Better Schools is about more support for kids with disability or learning difficulties and about providing a safe environment for every Australian student.

We want to make every school in this country a great school and every Australian child gets a world-class education by investing in the tools we know deliver improved learning outcomes, especially in literacy and numeracy.

Mathematics comedian, Simon Pampena, and children’s book author and illustrator, Kerry Argent, are the National Literacy and Numeracy Week Ambassadors for 2013 and will be visiting schools to participate in events around the country.

At 2pm on Wednesday 31 July, a simultaneous mass read, Read for Australia, event will be held in participating schools around the nation. Teachers and students will read aloud from the selected book titled Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon.

Herman and Rosie has also been made available in AUSLAN for Australia’s deaf community on the website

For more information on NLNW activities, including Reach for the Stars numeracy activity and Poem in Your Pocket literacy activity, visit

MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew Porter 0419 474 392