Health workers in Katherine model enjoyment of books for families

Health workers in Katherine model enjoyment of books for families

by Freya Lucas

November 02, 2021

Health workers in and around the Northern Territory town of Katherine have been modelling ways that parents can enjoy reading board and cloth books with their babies in a bid to embed a lifelong love of reading.

 

The work is being undertaken as part of the Wurli-Wurlinjang Family Partnership Program, and was set up for new mothers three years ago, reaching families in Katherine township as well as the outlying communities of Kalano, Rockhole and Binjari. 

 

At the moment, Wurli-Wurlinjang is working with 14 new mothers and their babies, using books gifted by the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF).

 

Books enjoyed include interactive and sensory books, as well as lots of books about animals, all of which babies love, Nurse Supervisor Bridgette Hutchinson said. 

 

Babies receive books as gifts at 12 and 24 months of age, and their siblings also are given age-appropriate books on their birthdays.

 

“The books are really well chosen,” Ms Hutchinson said. “None of them go to waste … They encourage parents to connect with our service. The books also encourage parents to read to their children and the value of reading and writing, and the children love them.”

 

Wurli-Wurlinjang also distributes books at community events, like the annual sports day at Kalano community. Many of the children in the community speak Kriol or Jawoyn as their first language, and really identify with the books written by Indigenous authors, she continued. 

 

“Having Indigenous content is great because the kids can relate to the stories and feel empowered. This is especially true if the books are from a local author, such as Moli det bigibigi (Molly the Pig by Karen Manbulloo). The kids know the real life Molly so are excited to see her story in a book.”

 

Wurli-Wurlinjang orders from ILF’s Books 4 Toddlers, Books 4 Kids, Books 4 Big Kids and Books 4 Community lists, which means the books reach all ages in these remote communities. 

 

“Having a good selection means the books are picked up by all age groups…We give them out according to what’s appropriate. The books are very well used – they’re awesome books that are very appreciated by all.”

 

More information about the work of the ILF may be found here

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