At Owen Springs Education Centre in Alice springs, books from our Book Supply program are having great impact. “Where students were just looking at pictures and glancing over words, now they are attempting to read the words and asking for help when needed.”
Up to 16 students are currently enrolled in a special education program in Alice Springs which caters for male youths aged 12 to 18. The students come from different communities and town camps where Arrernte, Anmatjere, Pitjantjatjara and Warlpiri are spoken, as well as English.
The program has been receiving books from our Foundation since 2012. Most are used daily, and one of the long-term education workers has noticed some significant changes: “Where students were just looking at pictures and glancing over words, now they are attempting to read the words and asking for help when needed.”
While the students still respond really well to any books about sport, and AFL and Rugby League in particular, their interests are broadening. “They love The Guinness Book of Records and try to find any Aussies who hold records.”
There have been breakthroughs too in day-to-day literacy skills, at times in unexpected ways. One day a student offered to help in the kitchen when a cheesecake was being made. Later he asked, “Can I take the recipe home?”
A former student loved the cookbooks from the ILF Book Supply so much he has now begun his apprenticeship as a baker.
Yet another, when it came time for him to leave the program, asked if he could take a book home with him for his younger sister.
“These little things all add up. The kids don’t learn to read and write in a day, but these books give them a real boost.”
A new teacher in the program has been using the books in one-on-one reading sessions with those students with very low literacy skills.
Being able to choose books and having such a variety to choose from has “extended these young people’s minds and helped them gain knowledge that is relevant to them”.
“Students have asked where I get the books from. I really appreciate the work of ILF in getting these books to these kids. Everyone needs reading and writing.”