Today is Indigenous Literacy Day! This is great because it means we are talking about Indigenous Literacy! This is bad because Australia, it means we still need to talk about Indigenous Literacy.
There is a huge gap in English literacy rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Australia. A disgustingly enormous, we should feel ashamed of ourselves gap. By year 3, the gap in reading, writing and numeracy is already significant, and by the age of 15, “more than one-third of Australia’s Indigenous students ‘do not have the adequate skills and knowledge in reading literacy to meet real-life challenges and may well be disadvantaged in their lives beyond school’.” MORE THAN ONE THIRD. That is so uncool I cannot even. But Indigenous Australians should just pull themselves up by their bootstraps and Australia is totally not racist, amirite?
The Indigenous Literacy Foundation works to alleviate this disadvantage for Indigenous Australians, and Indigenous Literacy Day (every September 4) is one of the ways it gathers public support. So far in 2013, $360 000 has been donated, with 100 000 books supplied in 230 remote communities. But through Indigenous Literacy Day, we can help increase those numbers! And through the rest of the year too.
You can directly make a donation to ILF, and you can also get caught reading! Today Liz and I are making a donation to the Indigenous Literacy Fund and we have been caught reading Speaking from the Heart (by Sally Morgan, Tjalaminu Mia and Blaze Kwaymullina), and To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis.
A number of bookstores around the country are donating a percentage of all sales today to the ILF, so if you’re looking for a new book buy it from one of them today! (My book today will be purchased from Readings Carlton, who are donating 5% of all book sales today)
There is also a great blog post up at the Reconciliation Australia blog if you’d like some more info and stats and things.