QLD grants will enhance children’s literacy through public reading
The Sector > Quality > QLD grants will enhance children’s literacy through public reading

QLD grants will enhance children’s literacy through public reading

by Freya Lucas

February 12, 2020

In order to promote children’s literacy in 2020, the Queensland Government announced this week that it will provide $347,465 in grants to develop reading and storytelling sessions in parks and pools, mobile pop-up libraries and the promotion of First Nations languages. 


The announcement will be of interest to early childhood education and care service providers in Queensland who engage in excursions and visits outside their centre based services, as well as for those who run family day care services in the state. 


Queensland Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said 20 councils across Queensland would receive grants under the First 5 Forever program, providing strong early literacy foundations for children aged up to five years of age through public libraries and Indigenous Knowledge Centres.


“Libraries are vital community hubs that provide spaces and programs for learning, literacy and storytelling, and this funding will go a long way in providing learning and engagement opportunities for Queenslanders,” Ms Enoch said.


First 5 Forever Innovation Grants totalling $284,465 will go to 18 councils for innovative and flexible projects in local libraries which support and develop a love of language and literacy skills in babies and young children,” she said. 


“An additional $63,000 will be distributed among five councils supporting Community Literacy Champions raising local awareness of the importance of early literacy and encouraging families with  children aged birth – five years of age to connect with library services.”


Ms Enoch said the grants were part of the Queenslane Government’s $20 million funding commitment to deliver the First 5 Forever program. 


“The First 5 Forever program, co-ordinated by the State Library of Queensland, recognises the importance of literacy and language development in the first five years of a child’s life and provides families with information, resources and support to encourage them to talk, read, sing and play” she added.


State Librarian and Chief Executive Officer Vicki McDonald said the latest grant round demonstrated how councils were continuing to deliver innovative library services to their communities.


“State Library congratulates all grant recipients and is proud to work in partnership with more than 320 public libraries and Indigenous Knowledge Centres across Queensland to advance early literacy and build a love of reading that lasts a lifetime.”  


Read more about First 5 Forever and tips for making learning fun or contact your local public library or Indigenous Knowledge Centre to find out more about their programs.


A full list of grant recipients and projects is below.


First 5 Forever Innovation Grant recipients – Total: $284,465.80

  • Banana Shire Council: $29,895 for Multicultural Outreach Story Time, a program designed to engage multicultural members of the community, including pop-up sessions in the park and learning resources in various languages.
  • Brisbane City Council: $30,000 for targeted staff training and development to improve community experience of and engagement with early literacy programs across Brisbane libraries and into communities.


  • Cassowary Coast Regional Council: $6,835.80 for weekly Early Learning and Literacy Playgroup at Cardwell Library, promoting learning through reading, singing, playing, talking and craft, community cohesion, social connections and support for new parents.
  • Ipswich City Council: $8,907 for Dive Into Books and Kids Alive, a collaborative project using Story Time sessions at a local pool to produce a video showing the power of stories, songs, and rhymes in sharing important health and well-being messages, including water safety. This will result in an online resource that will be used by Laurie Lawrence’s Kids Alive – Do the Five water safety program as a model for early years’ educators.


  • Mackay Regional Council: $27,559 for Borrowing Books with Berky (BBB) program, increasing access to quality literature and resources with literacy champ Berky the brush turkey, creating ‘borrowing boxes’ for children’s books, increasing pop-up library and First 5 Forever programs, and continuing to embed Yuwi language by reprinting local books in waterproof material.
  • McKinlay Shire Council: $10,000 for Connected: Reading to Your Children bi-weekly reading and storytelling session at McKinlay and Julia Creek libraries.


  • Moreton Bay Regional Council: $26,564 for the My First Library Card initiative, targeting literacy and language development needs in the region by providing First 5 Forever information at hospitals and encouraging families of newborns to attend their local library to activate their card.
  • Paroo Shire Council: $6,328 for a variety of play-based resources to encourage library visits by parents and children.


  • Quilpie Shire Council: $8,000 for a Busy Kids project to complement existing Under-5 programs, featuring activities such as Gym Day, Pretend Play, Toddler Coding, Puzzle Day and Sensory Day.
  • Redland City Council: $23,845 for Jandai Language Literacy kits containing First 5 Forever information, Jandai-to-English word translations, and language advocate Sandra Delaney’s children’s book Whale Dreaming: Bibunla Yalingbila.


  • Rockhampton Regional Council: $30,000 for Community Connections project to take First 5 Forever into vulnerable suburbs through new programs Lunchbox Storytime, Haircuts and Story Books, and School Drop-off Storytime.
  • Scenic Rim Regional Council: $17,624 for Yugambeh Language Project, developing the first of three board books based on the local First Nations language of Yugambeh (Mununjali dialect), featuring a popular rhyme or song. Project will be linked with the Community Literacy Champions Grant, with resources at local rugby league games, and will form a template for resources to be produced in other local Indigenous languages.


  • Somerset Regional Council: $12,762 for pop-up library Stanley Somerset –The Travelling Trailer to help take the First 5 Forever message to the region’s kindergartens and playgroups, and to remote communities and families.
  • South Burnett Regional Council: $5,080 to increase engagement in First 5 Forever activities by running sessions at the new local Bunnings store.


  • Southern Downs Regional Council: $5,000 to develop early childhood resource kits to be used in conjunction with Storytime and Baby Rhyme Time sessions to enhance early literacy outcomes, cognitive development and numeracy.
  • Tablelands Regional Council: $9,916 for Splash & Sing sessions at Atherton Pool, encouraging children and parents to talk, play, sing and read through songs and nursery rhymes, while learning water safety and awareness in the pool. Will also provide a small pop-up library.


  • Western Downs Regional Council: $8,150 to support a keynote speaker for Western Downs Language to Literacy Event, bringing together individuals and organisations working with families with children aged 0-5 and providing parent support and messaging, professional development and discussions.
  • Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council: $18,000 to start a Mum and Bubs Group for children 0-18 months, combining early literacy learning through books, song and play, with peer advice and information from health and early childhood specialists, including child health nurse, nutritionist and speech pathologist.


First 5 Forever Community Literacy Champions Grant recipients – Total: $63,000

  • Logan City Council: $17,750 for Logan’s Little Learning Legends Campaign, supporting early childhood development through a collaborative project with Logan’s Early Childhood Education and Care Services to focus on key development concepts of talk, sing, read, play, dance and move. 
  • Mackay Regional Council: $9,408 to connect the community to local libraries through literacy champ Berky the brush turkey, with a new Berky-inspired children’s library card and a Fun Palace event at Mount Pleasant Centre to showcase library resources and First 5 Forever programs to a broad cross-section of the community.


  • Rockhampton Regional Council: $10,000 to create a First 5 Forever marketing and awareness campaign, highlighting the importance of early literacy and language development featuring local singer-songwriter duo The Short Fall. The campaign will consist of appearances at local library events, cinema and digital media advertising, and social media promotion.
  • Scenic Rim Regional Council: $8,932 to recruit a well-known and respected local Indigenous sports person to be a First 5 Forever Rugby League Literacy Champion, delivering messages at local football matches and through promotional material and media opportunities.


  • Whitsunday Regional Council: $16,910 for Early Literacy is Everybody’s Business project, with Police-Citizens Youth Club (PCYC) branch managers Sergeants Billy Li and Michelle O’Regan as Whitsunday Early Literacy Champions. Sgt O’Regan is also co-owner of Stackelroth Farms, which will collaborate with Whitsunday Regional Libraries and PCYC to develop children’s language and literacy skills through activities such as farm visits with a pop-up library, storytime sessions, resource stations at PCYC facilities and a joint presence at Community Show Days in Bowen and Proserpine.

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