Government helps over 95,000 school children catch the reading bug 


Government Book Week is an annual initiative delivered by Duffy Books in Homes, with funding from the Ministry of Education. The week has become a popular annual event and aims to increase literacy by fostering a love of books and reading in children. In 2024, Government Book Week will be celebrated during the first week of July in the 567 schools who take part in the Duffy Books in Homes programme.  

During Government Book Week, just under 100,000 school children will receive two brand-new books of their choice to take home, own and read. The books will be presented at special assemblies held at each school during this week.  

The Minister of Education, the Hon. Erica Standford is a big supporter of the initiative, “Being able to read is a fundamental life skill for our young people. This is a great initiative that will help with the knowledge, skills, and competencies our tamariki need to succeed. I encourage every child to pick up a book this week and give it a go.” 

Linda Vagana, General Manager of Duffy Books in Homes, sees initiatives such as Government Book Week as a critical part of tackling falling rates of reading and literacy, and is grateful for the Government support.  

Ms Vagana says, “The support the programme receives from the ministry, means that tens of thousands of Kiwi children get to experience the aroha of reading and books as taonga. That has such a tremendous impact on how much kids read. Low literacy has flow-on effects into adulthood and regardless of what job or career our children want to have they need to be literate. Children who discover an enjoyment of reading and books now, become adults who inspire a love of reading to their whanau and wider community.”  

2024 also marks the 30th Anniversary of the Duffy Books in Homes programme. Since it began in 1994 the programme has given away almost 15 million books. Participation has grown too, with over 560 schools and more than 270 early childhood centres benefitting from the programme each year. In 2024, nearly 100,000 ‘Duffy Kids’ will receive at least six new books of their choice to own, thanks to over 200 funding partners, supporters, and donors. The programme has been so successful, it has inspired offshoot programmes in Australia and the USA. 

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