Learning to read begins with books—and being able to read can open doors to a world of opportunities. Our Book Supply program gifts new and culturally relevant books to over 200 remote communities across Australia. This year our goal is to gift 45,000 free quality books to over 230 communities.
Positive feedback from the communities in 2015 confirms how much the books are cherished, enjoyed, read, listened to and shared.
Beth Purdy-Dart, from one of our communities in SA, from the Ernabella Child and Family Centre says, “The program is fabulous and has been extremely beneficial to the community…There are very few books available to the community and providing access to families and particularly young children [instils] the importance of literacy to families and to the children…The community love the books, the comments are always popular with children saying that the books are their favourite and the parents often comment about how happy they are”.
Barb Hall works in Northern Queensland for Tablelands Counselling & Support Service with disadvantaged and vulnerable children and families. Barb writes: “Many parents I work with have extremely low literacy skills…The children are absolutely thrilled to have their mum sit with them and parents are finding another way to relate to their child. One child knew no other entertainment other than playing with a mobile phone— your toddler tactile books have opened up a whole new world to him and he now rushes to show me the book the family is using at the moment…all people have commented on the quality and content of the books, the choice has allowed all age groups and literacy levels to enjoy this beautiful collection.”
“very inspired to see books from Indigenous authors”.
Fiona Martich of the Wawu Dabaar Teaching Circle, also in Northern Queensland
Anita Pacey, an Early Years Teacher at Pwakayini Preschool in the Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory, told us how important the Book Supply program is to the families in her community, and how much the parents enjoy sharing the books with their young children.
“The parents love them… I always have explained to the parents that the story is important, the pictures are important and the love of books is important and not to worry about whether the correct word is said or pronounced. Even if they talk about the illustrations in Tiwi with the child there is the enormous benefit that the value of books is important to both parent and child… I could not engender the love for reading and the refreshing of school days English learning with parents without the program”.
Because each community has different needs, the books are carefully selected to appeal to many interests and age groups. Quality and cultural appropriateness are essential criteria—we particularly aim to include 40% with Indigenous authors or illustrators—a benchmark we have achieved this year.
The Book Supply program operates through a vast web of organisations in remote communities – schools, libraries, playgroups, women’s centres, youth drop ins and service organisations, and the books are shared in families, libraries and classrooms. We welcome new organisations working in remote communities to register for our program.
We can achieve our goals this year with donor support. Schools, organisations and individuals are encouraged to set your own goals for 2016 and register for our fundraising activities.