Indigenous literacy foundation

Bringing the gift of literacy to remote Australia

Indigenous Literacy Foundation

BASic Bookkeepers welcome the opportunity to partner with businesses and charities to provide support and help introduce worthwhile initiatives into the wider community. We are delighted to announce our newest partnership with The Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) – a national charity who focus on improving literacy rates among Indigenous children living in remote communities across Australia.

We city-slickers are lucky to have access to unlimited sources of books through libraries, bookstores and book swapping amongst friends. We want to support the ILF to bring the gift of literacy to children who don’t have this opportunity. Our support will include: making an annual donation to support the ILF, providing links on our website, encouraging our blog readers and clients to support their valuable work, offering our own time to volunteer at fundraising events.

The literacy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children is significant - the more remote the community, the larger the gap. ILF’s programme aims to reduce the disadvantage experienced by children who do not have access to books and reading materials.

Over the past decade, ILF has delivered more than 250,000 culturally relevant, new books to over 250 remote Indigenous communities. These books are used in playgroups, pre-schools, schools, libraries, health centres, youth centres, women’s centres and other community organisations.

Literacy is key to learning. ILF’s Book Supply programme opens the door of opportunity to develop early literacy skills. A team of educators, book publishing professionals and ILF programme managers evaluate their programme annually and select the books. Indigenous authors and illustrators create 40% of their catalogue. A new catalogue is released each year.

ILF’s Book Buzz programme encourages early reading and engagement with books among babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers. Families are encouraged to read books, many in first language, with their children.

Building strong, ongoing relationships with the communities and organisations that use books supplied by the programmes is at the core of how ILF works. For example, In Warburton, WA, 1500 kilometres north-east of Perth and 1000 kilometres south-west of Alice Springs, ILF has been working for several years with a local playgroup. In close consultation and cooperation with the community, literacy experts have devised a highly successful programme around board and cloth books, including props such as puppets, big books and puzzles.

Children from the community are now starting school with pre-literacy skills. They know what a book is for, and how to turn the pages. From day one at school, the literacy gap has been reduced for these youngsters.

ILF recognises that when it comes to developing early literacy skills in remote Indigenous communities, change does not happen overnight. ‘Everything is done in baby steps.’

A great way to support the ILF is to host a Great Book Swap event during NAIDOC Week, which is held in July each year. The Great Book Swap is a fantastic way to celebrate reading locally, and raise much-needed funds for remote communities. Schools, workplaces, book clubs and all kinds of organisations can host one. The idea is simple, just swap a favourite book in exchange for another, for a gold coin donation.

For more information about ILF, or to make a donation, visit www.ilf.org.au or call (02) 9280 0644.

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