A southern dialect of Pitjantjatjara as well as English is spoken in remote Tjuntjuntjara, WA where books from the our Book Supply feature during daily reading time at the community school.
The books are set out on a trolley on the verandah at the Tjuntjuntjara Remote Community School, for the kids to access after the morning recess break. They’re rotated each week, so there’s always a new selection.
“The students love these books,” says Monika Klein, Playgroup Coordinator at the school. “They love the variety and are always excited when the boxes of new books arrive.”
Any kids who can’t as yet confidently read on their own find an older student or adult to read with them. Some picture books are read to small groups by the teachers, with the kids actively listening and following the storylines.
Tjuntjuntjara, in the Great Victorian Desert, is 700 kilometres east of Kalgoorlie and 300 kilometres north of the Great Australian Bight. No books are stocked in the community store; nor are any other reading materials, like newspapers and magazines. So school is really the only place where most of the 32 kids enrolled have ready access to books and other literacy resources.
Throughout the year, some ILF-gifted books are presented as awards in weekly assemblies. But at the end of the school year, before the long summer holidays, each student is given an age-appropriate book to take home and keep.
“The children get so excited about these books! They are proud to take the books home. They love them.”
And the kids’ passion has spread! Whenever they’re up at the school, some of the mums can now be found looking through the books for older readers, like The Guinness Book of Records or Awesome Facts (Five Mile Press).
“We appreciate the time and effort put in by so many people – schools, donors and the hard work of the ILF to help close the gap in Indigenous literacy.”
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