At Numbulwar School on the remote western coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria in the NT, every student gets to choose a book from our Book Supply program and take it home to keep.
Both Wubuy and Kriol are spoken in the community, with Australian English being the language used at school, where every year each class teacher holds an afternoon tea for their students’ families. This enables them to meet everyone — but the key part of the event is the handing out of books.
“We have a big focus on reading here,” says Joanne Pickering, Senior Teacher at the school. “When the boxes are opened the kids go, ‘Wow, look at these!’ The families take the books home and are able to read them to each other. This helps the children see other family members modelling reading behaviour.”
The teachers also arrange for the students with lower literacy levels to each choose for their classroom a book gifted by our Foundation that can be read during free time. Those students become responsible for the care of the book they’ve chosen and make sure it is looked after well by their classmates.
The school caters for children aged 0 to 18, and has a Families as First Teachers (FaFT) program in place for kids up to 4 years old. In regular daily sessions, parents are encouraged to read with their little ones. The teachers introduce the parents and carers to “conversational reading”, where they point at the pictures and talk about them with the children. Books are read first thing each morning and again at the end of each day.
“The 0 to 5 years are very important, so we try our best to embed an early love of language and reading. Getting books into homes is the most important thing.”