A truly interesting and moving session. The panel, made up of Debra Dank, Anne Shinkfield and program ambassador Andy Griffiths, discussed the projects and successes of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (newly upgraded from 'project'). This year Indigenous Literacy Day will be Wednesday 7 September.
They have started the wonderful Book Buzz program, aimed at getting small readers from remote and isolated communities access to books (and books that resonate with their lives and experiences) because it's reading from a young age that gives kids the greatest chance of becoming readers later in life and will assist them so much throughout their adulthood.
Anne Shinkfield is the Early Years Program Development Coordinator at Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku in Warburton, WA. Her playgroup centre received books from the ILF and has helped to provide translations. Since then, reading and story time have become popular and important with children and their parents alike. Women who have never learned to read themselves are enjoying the experience with their kids.
The continued supply of books to these communities, and their translation into local languages, helps to fuel the cycle of empowerment and participation of our indigenous population and help close the shameful literacy gap that has become so great in our country.
A number of books are now available in indigenous languages, including the Australian classic Grug, which has been translated into Karrawa, a language of the Top End.
The Naked Boy and the Crocodile is a soon-to-be-released collection of stories written by children from all around the country. We got to read the titular story and - oh lordy - it is hilarious. It could have come straight from the Bad Book and it may or may not have a crocodile that poops out a boy. Except not "may not", because it blatantly does. Andy, who collated the hilarious tales, believes that the kids he met have far more exciting, funny and harrowing stories than he could ever make up. Find out for yourself: The Naked Boy and the Crocodile is released by Pan Macmillan Australia in September 2011.
Click here to listen to an ABC Life Matters interview with Debra and Anne.
If you would like to donate to the ILF you can do so quite easily by clicking this link: DONATE NOW! YES YOU! pleasethankyou.