Territory Stories

Sunday Territorian 1 Mar 2015



Sunday Territorian 1 Mar 2015


Sunday Territorian; NewspaperNT




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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.

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Nationwide News Pty. Limited

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Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.

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Nationwide News Pty. Limited



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SUNDAY MARCH 1 2015 LIFESTYLE 17 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA IMAGINE a world whereevery child has an equalright and fair chance to an education. A world where every child can read a book. An Australian charity is trying to make that world a reality, and has recently branched out into the Territory to help our disadvantaged kids get up to speed in the reading stakes with an initial donation of 5000 books. Reading Out of Poverty began in Victoria in 2010 to help the states most disadvantaged children learn to read. It focuses on developing childrens early literacy skills to give them more of an equal start in life and to nurture a love of reading. Research shows children who fall behind in their early reading skills struggle to catch up over the years, which can adversely affect outcomes throughout the rest of their life. Executive director Andrew Kay said the hope of Reading Out of Poverty is that their programs instil a lifelong interest in learning. Our primary purpose is to provide a strong foundation for children to learn to read so they can succeed in education, reach their full potential and contribute to their community and the world, he said. The charity will distribute more than 5000 books throughout the Northern Territory this year, and the first delivery of 2000 titles arrived recently. The books were purchased with the help of a $30,000 grant from Jetstars Flying Start program. (The money) is a significant boost in allowing us to expand, Mr Kay said. The grant provides us the opportunity to develop this project. Children in East Arnhem Land, Katherine and Alice Springs are the first ones set to benefit from the bounty of books, with many destined for remote communities. Minding the gap IT could not come at a better time, with recent figures showing the long-running Close The Gap campaign aimed at lifting indigenous Australians out of disadvantage is failing miserably. According to the Prime Ministers 2015 report on the matter there has been no overall improvement in indigenous reading and numeracy levels since 2008. Figures also indicate that indigenous people living in remote areas are more likely to be below the national average in reading and writing than their metropolitan counterparts. Reading Out of Poverty hopes an injection of thousands of books into remote areas where access to learning facilities is limited can go some way to tackling this issue. And the organisation is thinking big. Initially, we proposed 5000 books, with 80 per cent penned by indigenous authors, but weve had a lot of support so it could be a lot more, Mr Kay said. The first load of books will be making their way to communities such as Galiwinku, Ramingining, Milingimbi, Gapuwiyak and Angurugu. Several of these communities were hit by Cyclone Lam recently, so the arrival of the books will be a boost for people who have experienced plenty of loss. And with more than 80 per cent of the titles written by indigenous authors, it is hoped the cultural link will inspire children in remote communities to learn the love of reading. Local help HANDLING the distribution of books across the NT is the Darwin branch of Families and Schools Together. The international organisation is dedicated to strengthening the relationships between families and schools, to enhance child education. The NT branch has been operating for the past 12 years, with volunteers run ning programs in rural and remote communities. FAST NT manager Mal Galbraith said the books from Reading Out of Poverty were a welcome addition. Anything thats going to enhance reading, and parents reading to children, is good for the children growing, Mr Galbraith said. The books will be distributed by FAST through its eight-week program. Families receive a family fun prize if they participate in the program, Mr Galbraith said. Families will now be receiving colourful, fun, reading books to enhance reading. He said he was pleased to see the large portion of books by indigenous authors, as it was beneficial to include titles by people who know and understand the indigenous culture. Anything thats going to help kids in reading is going to help with education and set them up for life, Mr Galbraith said. FAST Trainer Kathleen Irwin (left) and FAST General Manager Mal Galbraith with some of the books that Reading out of Povertys Project Manager, Emma Pearce (right) has delivered. FAST was awarded Victorian charity, Reading out of Poverty, by Jetstar last year Picture: IVAN RACHMAN HOW TO HELP Apart from donating books or money, you can also help Territory kids get up to speed with their reading in a more practical way with Reading Out of Povertys volunteer program. This involves going into the community to read to children. The organisation says reading aloud to young children stimulates language and cognitive skills, and builds motivation and curiosity. You dont need to be a teacher or great reader yourself, just be enthusiastic about helping children reach their potential. You can also sign up for the parent mentoring program, which involves giving encouragement and advice to parents of children aged 0-5. For people who cant read well or were never read to themselves as a child, the idea of reading aloud to their own children can be daunting. Another way to help is by organising a childrens book drive in your community, to encourage others to donate books. To find out more visit www.readingoutofpoverty.org.au or email info@readingoutofpoverty.org.au Things are booking up The ability to read might be something you take for granted. But for those who cant decipher the words on a page, the knock-on effects are endless. A new Territory charity is trying to change that By JUDITH AISTHORPE