In honour of Indigenous Literacy Day (Wednesday, 4th September), we’re celebrating the incredible work done by the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) to close the Indigenous Literacy Gap in remote communities across Australia. Literacy rates for Indigenous children in remote communities are around 60% lower than that of their urban peers, so to help boost these rates, the ILF is has supplied remote communities with over 350,000 books and counting!
Through community literacy projects, they’ve published 88 books written by children and elders in 18 different Indigenous languages. The most recent publication, Nhä Nhunu Nhäŋal (I Saw, We Saw), was written and illustrated by students from Nhulunbuy Primary School in Yolŋu country, in north-east Arnhem Land. Copies of the book in Yolŋu Matha language have been presented to children from Yolŋu Matha-speaking communities, so they can read the book in their own language.
Children learn best in their own language, so Nhä Nhunu Nhäŋal is an incredible asset in the fight to close the Indigenous Literacy Gap. It also provides Indigenous children with the opportunity to see themselves and their communities reflected in print, which is something a lot of us take for granted.
To support the ILF and celebrate Indigenous Literacy Day, Charles Sturt Library will be hosting Great Book Swap events throughout September:
- Albury-Wondonga Learning Commons – September 10, from 11-12.30pm.
- Wagga Wagga Learning Commons – September 10, from 10.30-12pm.
- Port Macquarie courtyard – September 11, from 10.30am
- Bathurst Library lawn – September 11, from 10.30-12.30pm
- Orange Learning Commons – September 16, from 10.30am
- Dubbo courtyard – September 25, from 11.30-1.30pm
Bring along a gold coin or two and pick up some books, cakes, slices and biscuits to help us raise money for the ILF! We raised over $900 last year but with your help we can do even better! For more on Indigenous children’s literacy and Indigenous languages, check out these links and resources:
- First Languages Australia
- Our blog post 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages
- This article by Walter Forrest about the importance of family-focused language programs like the ILF’s Book Buzz program
- This article from Charles Sturt scholars Sarah Verdon and Sharynne McLeod about language leaning and maintenance among Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
- Another article from Verdon and McLeod, with Laura Bennetts Kneebone discussing Indigenous children’s speech and language development and the relationship of these skills to their literacy levels
- The AUSTLANG database, which lists the histories, regions and levels of endangerment of Australia’s Indigenous language
If you have any problems accessing these resources, or would like more resources on Indigenous literacy and languages, please contact us at the Library for help. Hoping to see you at one of our Indigenous Literacy Day campus events!