Sadly, the love of reading isn’t something one is born with. In fact, there are many young people across Australia who have had very little opportunity to appreciate the joy of reading. To be nurtured towards a love of literacy. To be supported to explore the world of books and the adventures that lies within each page.
According to literacy experts, after nourishment, shelter, and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world. From telling stories around the fire, to the invention of the printing press, to binge-watching Netflix, our culture has always revolved around stories.
It is through stories that we define our world and discover our place in it. Stories help us understand the world we live in, teach us about where we came from, and help us see possible futures. Stories are our education and our escape. They lull us to sleep and inspire us to action! Indeed, it is through the stories we tell each other that we literally create the world as a reflection of who we are. To be literate is to be on the pathway to becoming a lifelong learner, and literacy is essential if we’re to have educated individuals and a truly free society. But what if this isn’t YOUR reality?
Each year the Youth Plus Foundation celebrates National Numeracy and Literacy Week with our own campaign “Hook into Books”. A Campaign highlight is our partnership with Ambassador, Australian Author Samantha Wheeler. The aim of the campaign in to reduce inequality and disadvantage by providing literacy opportunities.
What’s the issue?
Many young people who attend our Flexible Learning Centres face the daily challenge of lack of access to meaningful, age-appropriate literature. These young people have experienced significant gaps in their education due to a myriad of issues including family breakdown, trauma, neglect and abuse. Many of these young people (aged 14-18 years) read at an early primary school age and as such our teachers have expressed that it is not suitable, or encouraging to use children’s reading material with this cohort. Flexible Learning Centres have minimal library resources as compared to other schools so access to interesting, engaging reading material is scarce.
What we hope to achieve
We want to create an atmosphere that young people many not have experienced before. We want to surround students with good books, we want to read aloud with them, we want to show students how much we love reading and we want to do all this in their comfort zone.
We are working on some additions to the Hook into Books Campaign and can’t wait to share it with you!