"Collaborating with Children on Country to Improve Literacy" by Dr Anita Heiss
2017 Ngunnawal Lecture
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Dr Anita Heiss is a UC CIRI Research Fellow (Writing and Indigenous Studies). Anita will deliver the 2017 Ngunnawal Lecture and launch her latest book "Apmere Atyenhe Ltyentye Apurte (Our Home Santa Teresa)" at the event. It is FREE to attend and open to the public. Registration is recommended as seats are limited We hope you can join us for this free public event.
Lecture overview: Only a quarter of Indigenous Year 5 students in very remote areas are at or above national minimum reading standards, compared to 91 per cent for non-Indigenous students, according to the 2016 National Assessment Program for Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN). The key to self-determination is the ability to make life decisions for oneself. To do that in Australia you must be literate in the English language. As an author Dr Anita Heiss believes it is her responsibility to assist in the creation of resources that encourage Aboriginal people to read, often in a language that is not their first. In short she says, “It’s not rocket science – Aboriginal kids need to see themselves on the pages of books if we are to foster an interest in reading, especially in settings where books have not been part of the home environment. What better way to nurture a love of reading while improving literacy than by including children in the process of creating literature.” This seminar will focus on Dr Heiss’ collaborative project with artist Leecee Carmichael and the Year 6 students at Ltyentye Apurte Catholic School. Among many outcomes, the students produced the picture book Apmere Atyenhe Ltyentye Apurte (Our Home Santa Teresa). Published by Gilimbaa this project demonstrates not only success in community outreach and engagement in bringing children into the creative process of storytelling, but the capacity of skills development for young people in book production.