As a Chinese-Australian, growing up in Perth’s outer suburbs, Steph was privileged to gain an excellent education and a sufficient reading level, that she has used to collect degrees to hang around her neck. Not all Australians have that same advantage, however, and Indigenous Australians are amongst the least able to access education and literacy resources.
The first Wednesday of September is Indigenous Literacy Day, and today is that Wednesday. Last year, Steph and Liz Got Caught Reading (wow, based on those photos, it sure was warmer this time last year!), but this year we are both at work so probably shouldn’t publically admit to being reading right now. But you can!
You can find out all about Indigenous literacy at the Indigenous Literacy Foundation webpage, but here are some key facts:
- Indigenous homes, particularly those in remote communities, have fewer books, computers and other educational resources than non-Indigenous homes. All of these factors are linked to children’s achievements at school and in the development of English literacy skills. (Bortoli and Cresswell, 2004)
- The development of English literacy skills is important for the life opportunities of Indigenous children and youth. Literacy provides them with ‘the necessary skills to interact within mainstream society and avail themselves of the broadest range of civic, social, educational and employment possibilities’. (Mellor and Corrigan, 2004)
- The gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students emerges early. Non-Indigenous students far out-perform Indigenous students in benchmark tests for reading, writing and numeracy in Year 3 and Year 5. By Year 7, the gap has widened, particularly for numeracy. (DEET NT 2006)
- 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’. (PISA cited in Bortoli and Cresswell, 2004, page 11).
That is bullshit, right? Help close the gap by supporting the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and Indigenous Literacy Day. There are lots of events across the country, many bookstores are donating a percentage of takings for the day to the ILF, and if you donate you’ll not only be helping our country and Indigenous Australians but also you’ll probably look more attractive.*
Donate early, donate often. No Award will love you for it.
Track ILD events on the hashtag #ILD14
Quick Link Roundup
The always excellent Luke Pearson at Eureka Street: Making Indigenous Literacy Day Obsolete
Carla McGrath, this week’s IndigenousX tweeter: Indigenous excellence is personal, it’s individual, and it’s about education
At the Wheeler Centre: It’s Indigenous Literacy Day Tomorrow, a good summary post
At the SMH: Tiwi Islands students take part in writing workshop for Indigenous Literacy Day
*not guaranteed by NA.