In Mt Isa in far western Queensland, books from our Book Supply are being used in a living skills program for women and their families who have become homeless as a result of domestic violence.
At Nawamba House, which provides shelter as well as support, staff individually visit families who’ve moved into the crisis accommodation. Along with giving practical help, the staff model learning games and conversational reading with the mothers and their kids. Books from ILF are matched up with the games, and then left in the home so they can be used between visits.
“The children love reading the books,” says Be Keillor, one of the support workers, who adds that having the books is encouraging the women, some of whom speak Eastern Arrernte as well as English, to engage directly with their kids.
“The mothers love the books too.”
Some of the books are kept in a “mini lending library” in the admin office at Nawamba House.
“If any kids come up to the office they’ll definitely pick out a book and want it read to them.”
Often, they’ll ask if they can take the book back with them. Sometimes the women will borrow the books for their kids.
“Having the library sets up the habit and routine of borrowing books,” says Be. And learning the concept of having to bring them back “helps develop responsibility”.
Bright, colourful picture books have proven very popular, as have those with Indigenous content. And the “interactive” books, with flaps and pull tabs, are a big hit.
Be admits that sometimes these are returned a little worse for wear, but says it’s gratifying seeing the books so well used.
“We always enjoy getting the books … They have worked so well with the learning games.”
- Posted 12 September, 2018