Tuesday, August 31, 2010

1st September Indigenous Literacy Day; Wattle Day

Today is a day for Australians to stop and consider what it would be like to not be literate. Indigenous Literacy Day aims to help raise funds in order to raise literacy levels and improve the lives of Indigenous Australians living in remote and isolated regions. Events are held to raise money and some bookshops donate a percentage of their sales to the Indigenous Literacy Project (ILP). These funds are spent providing books and literacy resources to these remote communities and on raising awareness of Indigenous literacy issues. Books are provided in both English and Aboriginal languages.

The Book Buzz project, a special part of the ILP, recognises the need for early experience and contact with books and as such aims to put books in toddlers hands, in the hope that the interest in books and reading will continue and thus reduce statistics such as those in the quote below. Each Book Buzz bag has twelve books, some of which are pictured above.

In the Northern Territory, only one in five children living in very remote Indigenous communities can read at the accepted minimum standard. By Year 7, just 15% achieved this benchmark, 47 percentage points behind their urban Indigenous peers and 74 percent less than non-Indigenous students. (DEET NT 2006)

The first day of September and Spring has also been deemed to be Wattle Day in Australia. It is the centenary of it this year. Wattle is what Australians call the acacia plants. To combine Indigenous Literacy Day and Wattle Day revisit indigenous illustrator Bronwyn Bancroft's energetically colourful Possum and Wattle which celebrates Australian flora and fauna.

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