At the extremely isolated Kalumburu Remote Community School on the northernmost tip of WA, books gifted by our Foundation are being enthusiastically received.
“The kids went through the books as soon as they saw them,” says Jill Retallack, the Home Reading Coordinator at the school.
There are 120 children aged four to 12 enrolled at the school, where each of the eight classes gets a box of age and culturally appropriate books for classroom reading. A few books are kept aside, to be used for weekly reading awards or end-of-semester attendance prizes.
“The books have been fantastic,” says Jill. “The kids get so excited and are now much more motivated about reading. Once one or two of them are hooked on the books, then it’s off!”
In Jill’s composite class, the kids are most enthralled by the factual books, like those about the human body, animals and cooking. And while the Lego books “went down a treat”, at Kalumburu it’s the Guinness Book of Records that’s the real hit.
“Many of the kids head straight to it,” explains Jill. “They’ll be sitting on the couch and I’ll hear them say ‘Wow!’ They’re very impressed. They love the pictures, which gets them talking and wanting to know more.”
The school also has a Kindilink program, and picture books gifted by our Foundation have proven very popular with the two- and three-year-olds that attend. And with an emphasis on trying to get books into homes and helping families connect with books, the school has made book bags for the kids to take home.
Feedback from the parents has been very positive, with many remarking that their youngsters often don’t want to put down a book they’re reading.
Some books from the ILF Book Supply are being distributed a little further afield to the community’s health clinic and the women’s centre.
“We’ve made very good use of them,” Jill says. “When you’ve got something that works with kids you really do have to celebrate it!”