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An initiative of Early literacy in Indigenous communities Inaugural corporate supporter Sharon Foster.

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Presentation on theme: "An initiative of Early literacy in Indigenous communities Inaugural corporate supporter Sharon Foster."— Presentation transcript:

1 An initiative of Early literacy in Indigenous communities Inaugural corporate supporter Sharon Foster

2 Presentation outline The importance of early literacy Explaining Let’s Read About family consultations in indigenous communities

3 Why is reading important? Being literate is a core skill that impacts on the individual’s employment opportunities and quality of life impacts on the prosperity of Australia. Approximately 48% of the adult population in Australia are illiterate or have a poor level of literacy.

4 Literacy Levels and Physical and Mental Health - USA (Quantitative) Percent Literacy Level NALS, p. 44, 2002 Health Problems Mental or Emotional Problems Long-term Illness

5 Why is reading with young children important? The building blocks to help children learn to read and write when they get to school are developed before they get to school. These are known as emergent literacy skills.

6 Emergent Literacy Skills Reading aloud helps to develop Language abilities – the amount of words they know and use Letter identification / knowledge - knowing the names and sounds of letters Phonological awareness / sensitivity – being able to identify and manipulate sounds in the spoken words An understanding of the conventions of print - left- to-right, top-to-bottom, from front to back across pages A strong bond between the parent and child, which helps them get along with other people later in life.

7 Why is reading with young children important? Learning to: talk is “experience expectant” – we hear it so we learn it read is “experience dependent” – we have to see it to learn it

8 Why is starting early important? Children who struggle with reading when they get to school are: unlikely to catch up to their peers, more likely to dislike reading, read less, and thus fall further behind.

9 The Literacy Divide

10 Literacy divide Typical middle class child enters first grade with 1,000 – 1,700 hours of one to one picture book reading Children from a low income family averages just 25 hours Adams, M. J. (1990). Beginning to read: thinking and learning about print. Cambridge, MA:MIT Press.

11 Why is reading aloud with young children important? When you are reading aloud with a young child (under 5) you are not trying to “teach” the child to read before they begin school, but rather helping him or her to develop the building blocks and a love of books.

12 Every parent wants to do the best for their child

13 What is Let’s Read? Let's Read is a universal program based on research designed to promote reading aloud with young children birth - 5 years. Let’s Read encourages parents to have fun reading with their young children, to develop the building blocks that will help children learn to read and write when they get to school.

14 Effective early literacy program From the research: Shared reading Built upon an emergent literacy framework Professional involvement to convey guidance messages and model shared reading practices Community wide delivery and or easy accessibility to age appropriate free books Community involvement to assist in promotion and sustainability

15 About Let’s Read The Let’s Read program has two parts: 1.Support given to parents on a one to one basis Parents need clear and simple information, as well as being shown read aloud techniques. The messages about reading needs to be given to a parent more than once, The best person to support a parent is a community based person that the family trusts. The people to support and work with families should be trained and provided with high quality resources to give to parents. 2.Community activities Create opportunities for young children and their families to be involved in community based early literacy activities, continuing to promote the importance of reading

16 Resources to give to families – in one to one interactions Parent information sheets to reinforce messages – age specific Booklists – age specific DVD A book A reader bag

17 Let’s Read is NOT A program designed to teach children to read A set of resources that can be used how ever people like A one - off event

18 Feasibility Study Results 97% of parents reported the DVD reinforced the messages received from the child health nurse Over 80% of parents reported that the “read aloud” books have helped in reading books with their children 97% parents reported having read the book 95% parents reported having read the book more than once 94% of parents reported that their child liked the book 9% of parents have purchased at least 1 book since receiving the booklist

19 Current implementation 52 communities across Australia Tasmanian Department of Education – Read for Life – all children under 5 years Queensland Department of Communities – Reading to Children – 11 LGA

20 Why undertake family consultations in indigenous communities? To find out:  what is currently happening in the community  what are the families expectations and aspirations  whether Let’s Read is “acceptable” To make recommendations about possible ways forward.

21 Undertaking family consultations Families invited to participate Local person acts as the consultant Completed on a one-to-one basis Venue determined by mutual agreement Take about 45 minutes Results recorded by consultant Given Let’s Read pack to keep

22 Undertaking family consultations Areas involved: WA – Pilbara – 74 families QLD – Cape York, Torres Strait, Far North Queensland – 250 families VIC – still to be determined

23 Family consultation questions About the questions: Family background Home language and literacy Care and education Community involvement About the Let’s Read resources

24 Family background To gain some simple family demographics, and potentially identify whether the number of people in the household impacts on the opportunity to read aloud with a young child.

25 Family background N = 166


27 Home language and literacy To obtain an insight into the range of languages / dialects that are spoken in the family homes and which of these can be read and written. It is important to be cognisant of languages used at home and how to support the family to promote these languages but also ensure the child is ready for the school experience and gets the most from it.

28 Home language and literacy Pilbara – 74 families 17 languages / dialects – including English One taught at primary school One taught at primary school and secondary school 10 indigenous languages could be read and written

29 Home language and literacy N = 166



32 Home language and literacy 4 communities in Queensland N = 92

33 Home language and literacy Comparing two areas in the Pilbara N = 74

34 Home language and literacy Queensland community “C” - N = 20

35 Home language and literacy Queensland community “A” - N = 26

36 Home language and literacy Queensland community “C”- N = 20

37 Others reading aloud with the child Aunts 9 Uncles 3 Older brothers 5 Older sisters 3 Grandmother 3 Grandfather 6 Family friends 3 Others 6 - Cousin, Father, Childcare

38 Care and education To examine who has regular contact with the child and therefore what opportunities exist for reading aloud to be undertaken with the child – both in the home and in other services

39 Care and education Activities enjoyed with your child: Fishing Swimming Walking Talking Singing

40 Care and education Queensland N = 92



43 Community involvement To explore the types of people that are trusted and respected in the community and could deliver the early reading message and also the potential for community activities.

44 Community involvement Queensland N = 92

45 Community involvement Queensland Community “M” N = 25

46 Community involvement Queensland Community “C” N = 20

47 About the Let’s Read materials To gain a reaction to the Let’s Read materials – shown the DVD, parent information sheet, booklists and the book.

48 About Let’s Read Queensland N = 92



51 Implementation challenges Starting early Providing a multipoint intervention Messenger and the message Reaching the most hard to reach Working in collaboration not competition Building sustainability Determining how “success” will be measured

52 Contact Details Sharon Foster Centre for Community Child Health Murdoch Children’s Research Institute Royal Children’s Hospital, 03 9345 5710 or 0438 145 708

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