Aboriginal Literacy

September 1st is National Indigenous Literacy Day, a day designed to bring awareness to the general community about the rate of literacy amongst our Indigenous communities.

“Only 36% of Indigenous Year 5 students in very remote areas are at or above national minimum reading standards, compared to 96% for non-Indigenous students in major cities.” –  2019 NAPLAN.

The Indigenous Literacy Foundation’s approach to raising literacy levels starts at a community level with the supply of books. They have worked with many remote communities and published books reflecting up to 26 Indigenous languages from all across Australia.

These new and culturally appropriate books are gifted to schools and organisations operating in remote communities with an aim to develop familiarity and engagement with books for children under five through a daily dedicated Story Time session, so children can start school with some basic pre-literacy skills. 

The current COVID climate makes it difficult to raise funds for any charity especially after Australia’s recent frolic with bushfires, floods and drought. I can only ask, what’s next? Oh, yeah, a mouse plague.

What I have discovered is a range of picture books for the very young at my local Australia Post ( Post Office) published by Little Book Press. One of their projects is the Emerging Indigenous Picture Book Mentoring Project.

These books cost $4, have wonderful illustrations, and are written in both English and the local Aboriginal language. At the back there is also a QR code where you can listen to the author read the story in the Aboriginal dialect.

$4.

Just delightful for all kiddies, whether they be black, white, green or purple. Added bonus : light to put in the mail.


AFTERTHOUGHT :

My daughter who has been living in East Arnham land for over twelve months now – the one who gifts her hair to the local First Nation elders after a hair trim so that they can make new paint brushes – sent me a text over Easter. It said “ Mo, they caught a baru off the beach”.

Baru is a crocodile. By sharing communication, by acknowledging language, I hope that we can move towards closing the divide between our peoples.

AND ANOTHER AFTERTHOUGHT :

Watched the 2007 film Rogue on the weekend. Filmed in the Northern Territory by the same Director as Wolf Creek, the movie opens with some truly stunning images of the Territory. Absolutely gorgeous. Doesn’t last long unfortunately because it quickly becomes the crocodilian version of JAWS. OMG. Had to walk away but you’ll be pleased to hear it has a happy ending. But I‘m never, ever going on a Kakadu boat cruise.

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