Research shows that literacy foundations built by children in their primary and early secondary years are crucial to their ability to do well at school. In the long term, good literacy and numeracy skills also contribute to higher levels of education achievement and employability.
The Smith Family’s ‘student2student’ program is a unique and effective program that has helped many students to significantly increase their reading skills. The program works by matching students with reading ‘buddies’ who provide support over the phone two to three times a week.
Increasingly many families do not have access to landline phones in their homes. In 2010, Optus and The Smith Family established a partnership to trial a mobile phone version of the program in selected rural and regional communities. Optus provides the mobile phones and phone credit to run the program.
"Optus has been instrumental in growing this program by providing a mobile phone to children who do not have a home phone line. Their support has helped these children improve their reading and confidence."
According to The Smith Family's CEO, Dr Lisa O'Brien, mobile phones are becoming an integral part of the program.