Families Not Missing Out on Books Despite the Pandemic

Indigenous Literacy Foundation

During the COVID lockdowns, there have been lots of changes at the Port Lincoln Children’s Centre in SA, including playgroups being on hold for the time being. But this hasn’t stopped the dedicated staff ensuring that the books gifted by ILF continue to reach children and their families.

Usually, as soon as the delivered books have been unpacked, the Director of the centre, Joanne Smith, encourages each child at the centre to choose a book to take home.

“It gives children a sense of pride to select and keep a new book.”

Now, however, Joanne and her staff are making weekly or fortnightly home visits to playgroup families, dropping off “Learning at Home” packs, which include four books to borrow and one to keep.

“The books are very easy to read for those family members with low literacy levels.”

Of the 55 children enrolled in the centre’s pre-school and the 30 in its child care program, a high percentage are Aboriginal. And Joanne says these kids particularly are drawn to the books written and illustrated by Indigenous creators.

“The families feel connected as the books depict Aboriginal stories and content … And the children love the books. They are high quality, Aboriginal focused, and beautiful to look at and read.”

Before COVID, an elder from the community would come into the centre each week to read to the kids.

“They’re quite a rowdy little bunch, but when it was a book by an Aboriginal author the kids would all sit quietly and listen.”

The centre has been dropping off books from ILF to nearby primary schools too, so older Aboriginal children in the community also have access to books in their homes. Some of these youngsters email Joanne afterwards: “Thanks for the best books in the world,” wrote one. “Thanks for the books,” emailed another. “I’ll enjoy reading them.”

Each year, at the centre’s Open Night, Joanne sets up a display about ILF and the work our Foundation does. She puts up posters and arranges books on shelves and tables.

“It’s important for the parents to know where the books are coming from … Even our staff can’t believe how good the books are – and that we receive them from ILF free of charge!”

  • Posted 24 September, 2020