From Utopia: Olivia Couch

From Utopia: Olivia Couch

The Alyawarra and Anmatjirra children of the Utopia homelands in the Northern Territory love the books that we provide through our Book Supply Program.

Utopia is home to around 2,000 aboriginal people located north east of Alice Springs. The region covers approximately 5,000 sq km of land and comprises of several large and small communities. The two main languages spoken in this area are Alyawarr and Anmatyerre.

Olivia Couch, Family and Community Engagement Officer says “I have never seen excitement about books like I have with the children out in Utopia”.

Particular favourites are the indigenous stories and the books about animals! While “many of the young adults and young parents really enjoyed some of the more craft/puzzle/science oriented books”.

Olivia operates early education sessions and Community Engagement programs through Contact Inc and each week "we take a selection of ILF books—both for young children and adults—to our outreach sessions on the outstations,”Olivia says.

“For the early education program they are used during music and story time, for activity stimulus to tie activity themes together, and for free reading time with parents. In the Community Engagement programs many books have formed the basis of activities such as cooking, AFL-based storytelling, geography and history talks and also for free-time reading for parents and young adults".

According to Olivia “more than just the children are drawn to the story time sessions”, noticing also “community elders took to the Indigenous stories”.

“We have noticed in particular the parents and adults commenting on the books- in particular the Indigenous content picture stories. We will often have community members drop by, sit and have a read of these, even if they don't directly have any children attending our programs."

“We often have parents/caregivers/elder translate the stories into local language for us,” says Olivia, and their "exposure to a variety of books of varying context has really helped to build our literacy program and has aided in the self initiated literacy development between parents and their children. “

  • Posted 01 March, 2016