“One of the highlights of going back to Warburton is seeing the kids you first met in playgroup now in school,” Tina Raye, ILF’s Program Manager says, talking about the most recent field trip to Warburton Playgroup.
These are the kids that have been read to in Ngaanyatjarra since they were babies. It’s amazing seeing them in a classroom now, so grown up, and having grown up with that love of books.”
Located in Western Australia, 1050km southwest of Alice Springs, and 1,500km northeast of Perth, Warburton is home to around 700 members of the Ngaanyatjarra people.
Book Buzz at Warburton Playgroup
The Indigenous Literacy Foundation has supported the Warburton Playgroup with the Book Buzz program for the past seven years, providing books for Ngaanyatjarra storytime. Such titles as Where’s Spot, Dear Zoo, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, I Went Walking and 11 other children’s books that have been translated into the local language.
The books are given to the playgroup to use in storytime, and, once a culture around reading has been built up, are gifted into the homes. On the most recent trip, families were given three of their favourite titles to take home.
Developing an app with Pearson Australia
A lot has changed since ILF ambassador Andy Griffith’s wrote about his visit in 2010. Most notably, ILF are working with Pearson Australia to develop an app for toddlers in Ngaanyatjarra language.
Pearson Australia’s representative Alice McNamara joined Tina Raye and Program Coordinator Cindy Manfong on the trip to gather materials for the development of the app.
There are a number of iPads at the school, and the majority of community members have smart phones. Tina and Cindy showed local families what the app might look like, and explained that it would be in their language.
Local translations make all the difference
Over the course of the trip, new books were selected to be translated into the Ngaanyatjarra language. “This is one of the main reasons for the success of Book Buzz,” Tina says. “Because children are read to in their home language.”
“There was one Mum who was reading a book with her little boy. And she was doing all the things a mum in any culture would do with a book: connecting the fingers in the book, Ten Little Fingers, Ten Little Toes, to her own fingers, to her son’s fingers.”
Then they read Spot Goes to the Farm. There was a picture of a horse in the story, and just after, the boy ran over to get a horse off the shelf.
“You can see he’s making these connections in his brain, matching the things on the page to the things in the playgroup,” Tina says.
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