We could barely contain our excitement when we came back to work this year and heard about the Deadly Readers Club!
The club began in winter last year in Surat, in the remote Maranoa Region of south-western Queensland. Surat Aboriginal Corporation has been getting deliveries of books from us since 2008, and Chloe Cleven, the Children & Schooling Officer, got the idea for the readers club when more boxes of books arrived mid-2019.
A lot of the kids in the community, of all ages, feel a bit shy about going to the local library in town. But Chloe was keen to try to motivate them to borrow books and read on a regular basis.
“I run it out of the office,” Chloe explains. “It’s like a mini library. The kids and their parents can come in, browse through the books, sit down and have a read and some afternoon tea, and then take a chosen book home for the week.”
Each child is presented with a borrowing card that Chloe has made.
“They’re like the little coffee cards you get stamped in cafés. I put a sticker on for each book they read. An instant incentive! When it gets to five, they get a book pack.”
Inside the packs are a book, bookmarks, writing and drawing materials, and a bottle of water. The pack doubles as a book bag for future borrowings!
Since Chloe put up flyers around town and at the local school, and posted in the school newsletter, word about the Deadly Readers Club has spread quickly.
And the school has been very supportive and encouraging, with teachers reporting that in the past six months since the club began there’s been an improvement in literacy levels among those students who are regular attendees. And one particular club member’s reading skills have massively increased!
“The children and their families think it’s a fantastic idea, and would like me to continue to get new books every year,” Chloe says.
Is there any chance this wonderful idea could spread right across the country? Could Deadly Readers Clubs pop all over Australia? How deadly would that be!