Tag Archives: Literacy

The Smith Family – Economic and Digital Divides

6 Nov

Click to find out more

The Smith Family, improving childhood literacy in educationally disadvantaged homes. Yes, here in Australia.

“The Smith Family is a national, independent children’s charity helping disadvantaged Australians to get the most out of their education, so they can create better futures for themselves.”

More than 605,000 children are living in disadvantage (Australian Bureau of Statistics (2011) Labour Force Australia:Labour force status and other characteristics of families) and are unable to equally access the same educational, or life opportunities that many of us take for granted.  When children are left out, they get left behind and without support, the disadvantage they experience today is likely to continue into adulthood – and on to the next generation.

Research has shown, supporting a child’s education is one of the most effective ways of breaking the cycle of disadvantage and ensuring they can access the same learning opportunities as their peers.

The Smith Family – Lets Read

The  Smith Family – Digital Literacy

Dave Eggers

3 Nov

Source: TED Talks

I get exasperated sometimes when reading Dave Eggers, as a writer he talks too much, but as a public speaker, he sounds just right.

Inspirational and uplifting!

Library Stars

31 Oct

ALIA’s little book of public libraries

These initiatives make me feel very proud of the people who work in libraries and the communities they work with.

These are some of the successful entrants in the 2010 ALIA Library Stars competition. Not sure what happened in 2011.

Category: Children and early literacy


City of Greater Dandenong Libraries, Victoria Early literacy outreach program

The City of Greater Dandenong is the most culturally diverse municipality in Australia with nearly 60% of residents speaking languages other than English at home and many having limited fluency in English. The library outreach program has adopted an early childhood literacy focus, going out to visit groups of young families and ethnic groups in the community who have not previously used the library service. It supports parents or carers from refugee or low literacy backgrounds, building their confidence and encouraging them to read regularly with their children in an effort to improve literacy and school readiness levels.

Regular visits are made to playgroups, kindergartens, schools, community centres and local health services, family day care providers, and disability support and residential groups. Library outreach staff deliver age appropriate bilingual materials, stories and songs, promoting the enjoyment of story, rhyme and rhythm, and delivering services that support early childhood initiatives and literacy programs. Baby Bounce and story telling sessions are provided to a range of multicultural parenting groups. Community response has been overwhelming, with over 5,000 participants in 2008 and a 60% increase in loans for Let’s Read materials from 2007/2008 to 2008/2009. In 2009 the outreach program was awarded a Victorian Premier’s Multicultural Award for Excellence.


Casey-Cardinia Library Corporation, Victoria Read Like a Demon The library has entered into a partnership with the Melbourne Football Club to deliver a literacy program to selected grade 4 and 5 students from 10 primary schools in the City of Casey. The Read Like a Demon literacy program offers students who are struggling with reading an opportunity to participate in reading and creative writing workshops with Melbourne Football Club players and a number of best selling children’s authors. The program encourages them to read more and develop their literacy skills. In conjunction with the program, the library launched a new blog – Read like a Demon. Children are able to submit their own reviews, leave comments, find other reading recommendations, submit photos and keep up to date with the program. Hardie Grant Egmont Publishers have supported the program by providing free books to Read Like a Demon participants. The program aims to link positive literacy values with sporting role models that will provide the children with confidence and inspire them to develop a love of reading.



Salisbury Library Service, South Australia ABC 30&3 Salisbury, located in the northern suburbs of Adelaide, has a population with high levels of socio-economic disadvantage and an increasing number of new migrants. A 2008 Smith Family study found that low language skills and lack of school readiness occur in homes where children are read to on fewer than three days a week and there are less than 30 children’s books in the home. The ABC 30&3 program encourages families to read together at least three times a week and to have a supply of books in the home. The program has been developed to improve school readiness in children by supporting and up-skilling parents who have poor literacy skills and may otherwise be unable to assist with their children’s emerging literacy skills.

ABC 30&3 is a family literacy program targeting families where reading does not occur in the family home. They are run over a five week period, in parent centres or environments where the target families are already meeting. A library staff member facilitates the sessions and works with the parents and children to demonstrate effective ways to share books with children regardless of the reading ability of the parents. The importance of reading to children and providing books in the home is reinforced. A range of books and other resources are given to families to take home each week. A visit to the local library is organised to encourage future reading and introduce the families to the value of public library services. The program has been funded by the City of Salisbury and further supported financially and through the provision of centres to run the programs by groups such as the Salvation Army, Lutheran Community Care and the Wyatt Benevolent Institution Inc.


Victoria Park Library, Western Australia Loc@l library membership drive Loc@l (Local year One Children @ your Library) drive was introduced to reverse the trend of dwindling library membership and usage by primary school children. The program aims to develop lifelong reading habits among young students by working with local schools. A storytime session is held for each Year 1 class, where Lochie, the Loc@l mascot is introduced. Lochie lives at the library and brings his favourite things from the library to show them. Books, games, CDs, DVDs, puppets and magazines are then used to showcase the collection. It is explained that although Lochie loves living at the library he gets a little bored and this prompts children to promise to visit him.

A Loc@l welcome pack, designed for Year 1 students who sign up as members is then displayed. After each introductory session, library membership forms are distributed by the classroom teacher. A Loc@l afternoon celebration is then held at the library for all children who have registered as members where the Loc@l welcome packs containing membership cards are distributed. The major point of difference between this and other similar projects is the way in which local schools are involved: the expectation that the program will take place; and the distribution of letters to parents, encouraging their return. Parents respond well to the simplified library enrollment process. As a result of the program, the relationship between the library and local schools has been strengthened. Results from this program speak for themselves. Out of the 10 local primary schools in the town, seven schools have been regularly involved; approximately 45% of Year 1 students in the town are library members; and as part of the process, other family members also register for the first time.

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