Nine young students from remote Western Australia spent the afternoon with Souths Cares Ambassador Nathan Merritt in Sydney last week, as part of the Books in Homes reading program.
Students hailed from the Jungdranung Remote Community School which is located 132km south-east of Kununurra in Kija tribal land in the East Kimberley Region of WA.
“This is the first time these students have seen Sydney, so it’s a great chance for them to meet the people that run their program and for us to tell them how important reading is,” said Nathan.
“It’s a pretty exciting time for them too – their teachers told me they’ve been studying Matilda, so they’re going to go and see Matilda the Musical.”
David Streichler from Books in Homes Australia stressed the importance of the visit to Sydney, not just for the sight-seeing, but to help students engage with those who deliver the program.
“There are many students across the country who are beneficiaries, just like the students from Kununurra.
“Bringing these students to our office in Sydney meant they could make a real connection with the people who work hard to deliver the books to their school and more importantly they were able to select their own books.
“Books in Homes was founded on the realisation that failure in adult life often stems from childhoods spent in homes without books.
“Our vision is to re-awaken a sense of wonder in children and excitement in parents, by creating an Australia where every child and family has access to books-of-choice at home.
“There are many ways parents and carers can engage children in ways to improve literacy.
“Encouraging your child to read and write are obvious but some other ways can include: encouraging them to speak and listen; talking about things that you have read; discussing new and unusual words; and by visiting libraries.
“It’s important for them to see what can be achieved if they put their minds to it and know that they too can be successful because they have support behind them if they need it.”