Indigenous Literacy Day 2016 was a family affair at Pormpuraaw, a remote Aboriginal community on Cape York Peninsula.
The Child Care Centre at the Pormpur Paanthu Aboriginal Corporation, which caters for infants to 3½ year olds, hosted a Family Fun Day. The 3½ to 5 year olds from the nearby pre-prep centre were invited to come along too.
The highlight was a huge lucky dip of books from the ILF Book Supply program.
“We really want the kids to experience books every day,” says Erin Kendall, the Director at the Centre.
Staff had wrapped each book, “which makes it special”, and sorted them into big barrels according to the age they were appropriate for. Each child was called up in turn to reach in and select a surprise book of their own to take home.
“The kids were so excited. One of them shouted, ‘It’s a birthday!’ Another came up to me and said, ‘Thank you, miss. I love my book.’”
There was a jumping castle too, lots of balloons, an obstacle course, face painting, a word treasure hunt in the sandpit, and a big morning tea. Lots of the parents hung around afterwards, which the kids really loved.
“We’re trying to encourage families to read to their young children at least once a day. It can be part of the nightly routine: bath, pyjamas, teeth, book.”
The Centre also launched a book it has produced and each child was given a copy of this to take home too. About colours, the book is based on photos of the kids themselves, and is number three in a planned series of five. Earlier books were about teeth brushing and numbers; the next two will be about shapes and “healthy hands, healthy noses”.
“They’re just 15 by 15 centimeters,” explains Erin. “Easy to hold in little hands, and easy to store. And the kids really connect to seeing themselves and others they know in the books.”
The Centre also gifts copies to visiting children, so some of the books find their way into other remote communities in Far North Queensland.
“We really try to help the children get excited about books,” says Erin, who hopes that their small publishing program will inspire other communities. “If we can do it, you can too!”
To end the excitement of ILD, there were two lucky door prizes: the wildly popular Hairy Maclary pack (Lynley Dodd) and The Very Hungry Caterpillar flash cards (Eric Carle), both supplied by ILF.
“Before we started getting [the Book Supply program] from ILF, access to books here was very limited. Now the kids get to have books at home.”
- Posted 14 September, 2016