Books in the mail for Katherine's most remote children

Books in the mail for Katherine's most remote children

News
Australia Posts 2019 Community Grants program has awarded $8,640 to Katherine Isolated Childrens Service to work with the Dolly Partons Imagination Library. Picture: Mandy Tootell.

Australia Posts 2019 Community Grants program has awarded $8,640 to Katherine Isolated Childrens Service to work with the Dolly Partons Imagination Library. Picture: Mandy Tootell.

Aa

Children living in the most remote parts of on the Northern Territory, often hundreds of kilometres from a shop or a library, will begin to receive one book every month for the next year.

Aa

Children living in the most remote parts of the Northern Territory, often hundreds of kilometres from a shop or a library, will begin to receive one book every month for the next year.

Most will be posted to mailboxes, but for some who live in far flung communities or stations dotted across the outback, it will be the flying mail service which drops them off.

The project is a first in the Northern Territory aimed at sparking a love of reading and learning at a young age.

It is also taking on the big task of closing the education gap and tackling education challenges facing rural and remote students across the Territory.

A 2018 report found children living in remote areas remain developmentally vulnerable on five key measures: social, cognitive, physical, emotional and communication.

Worryingly, the gap isn't closing, but is in fact widening.

"There has been a steadily increasing gap in the percentage of children living in very remote australia who are developmentally vulnerable... compared to children living in major cities, from 12.3 per cent in 2012 to 14.6 per cent in 2018," the Australian Early Development Census National Report 2018 found.

Driving the project, Katherine Isolated Children's Service coordinator Mandy Tootell said she hopes the project will excite young readers and connect children with their parents.

"Just by virtue of living remote, children have less access to children's services and often don't see other kids, so they are missing out on that social interaction.

"If a book is addressed to a child they will ask their parent to open it with them and sit down and read it, we want to build that parent-child connection.

It is hard to buy books when you live remote, and libraries are few and far between - Mandy Tootell

KICS will use the Australia Post grant to partner with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to send children living remotely aged 0-5 years a book every month for the next year," Mandy Tootell says.

KICS will use the Australia Post grant to partner with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to send children living remotely aged 0-5 years a book every month for the next year," Mandy Tootell says.

"Reading is important, but it is the love of learning and wanting to discover that we really want to foster."

The books will be sent through the Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, which started in 1995, in Tennessee where Dolly grew up.

Over 127 million books have been mailed to young children around the world, carrying the idea that every month excitement is renewed with each delivery.

In Australia, children in New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia have been receiving books since 2013.

Towns such as Doomadgee in remote parts of Queensland are seeing marked improvements in school readiness among the children involved in the project.

"Dolly grew up dirt poor but when she became famous and wealthy she devoted a lot of her time to improving education, first in her home town, then lots of other places, and she realised the best way to improve literacy was to have books in the home," Mrs Tootell said.

The project will build on the Katherine Isolated Children's Service existing mobile playgroup service which takes play-based learning to socially and geographically isolated children in the 0-5 years age range.

More than $8,500 was awarded to the Katherine Isolated Children's Service for its Books for Remote Children program through the Australia Post's 2019 Community Grants.

The story Books in the mail for Katherine's most remote children first appeared on Katherine Times.

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by