Reading Together in the APY Lands

Indigenous Literacy Foundation

The Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands in the northern and western parts of South Australia includes such remote communities as Ernabella, Flinders Park, Yalata and Kenmore Park.

As the Early Childhood Leader for schools in the region, Kerry Bosisto is well placed to keep up to date with how the books and resources from ILF’s Book Buzz program are being used.

“I visit each of the preschools and playgroups in the APY Lands each term. I regularly see the teachers, families and children reading and viewing the Buzz books. The books are a good size for young hands, attractive and sturdy for use indoors and outdoors.”

Many teachers in the preschools have told Kerry that the children really engage with the books from ILF and that each child “definitely has their favourite”. Some of the most popular are I Went Walking, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and Where’s Spot, as beloved for its moveable interactive flaps on each page as much as the story itself. And both the picture book The Very Hungry Caterpillar and the accompanying resource kit have resulted in much “imaginary play with large plastic insects which assists with oral language development.”

The early childhood educators in the APY lands work closely with local Aboriginal educators, often co-reading books to the youngsters and co-planning translations into language. In the playgroups, the parents and carers who join in the group reading sessions love having their own copy of the book with transparent stick-on translations of the words so they can read along to their baby or toddler sitting on their lap.

“This is an exciting area,” Kerry says.

With ongoing deliveries from the Book Buzz program, staff are able to replace any books showing signs of wear and tear from regular use. As part of the Book Buzz program, families in the playgroups are gifted books to take home and build up their home library so they can continue reading to their little ones.

And in 2020, when COVID restricted many activities, a lot of home learning packs containing books and games were delivered directly to APY lands families.

“We aim to circulate as many of the books as possible,” Kerry explains. “And the families really appreciate all the books. People get very excited whenever there’s a delivery from ILF.”

  • Posted 23 February, 2021