The Gift of Literacy

The Gift of Literacy

At a flexible learning centre for youth in Mt Isa, books from the ILF Book Supply are encouraging not only reading but also writing.

The Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) Youth Plus Flexible Learning Centre caters for young people aged 12 to 19. Many of the students come from outlying Aboriginal communities, and at present are from 10 different clans.

Lynn Gillies-Hughes, the Head of Campus, says the ILF Book Supply has made a huge difference to the students’ learning and literacy development, especially given the quality of the reading material supplied.

A while back, the Mt Isa campus inherited some old stock from a school library. Many of the books dated from the 1970s and 1980s and were not really engaging the youth attending the centre. But now things have changed considerably.

“They really love that the library books are new and up to date,” says Lynn.

Some books from the ILF Book Supply go into classrooms as study material. Others are used as prizes. At EREA, non-fiction tends to be preferred over fiction and, being Queensland, the books about Rugby League are the big hits rather than those inspired by AFL!

The students are impressed that other young people living in Indigenous communities have written some of the books.

“They often say that they’d like to be able to do that themselves,” explains Lynn.

With encouragement from their teachers, some of the students at Youth Plus are now starting to write short stories of their own.

“The books from ILF are used in lots of different ways,” adds Lynn, who also keeps a pile outside her office.

“If someone asks if they can take one home I always say ‘yes’. I tell them the books have been gifted to us, and the idea of the gift is to spread literacy and a love of books. I never say ‘no’. ILF is such a good cause and we’re very happy to be a part of the work they do.”

  • Posted 07 November, 2019

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