Books in Homes
Books in Homes is a charity close to the heart of many CKT members, who volunteer as role models for this wonderful cause.
Originally founded by author, Alan Duff, best known for his widely acclaimed novel Once Were Warriors, Books in Homes Australia now distributes millions of books to children in lower socio-economic areas.
In 1993 Alan visited a New Zealand primary school where he discovered the majority of children came from bookless homes and displayed little or no interest in reading. He was inspired to create a program that would prompt a love of books and reading, with the theory that having a home library would create the opportunity to strengthen family bonds, and improve educational, social, personal and professional development later in life. He got Mainfreight New Zealand founder Bruce Plested to come on board and Duffy Books in Homes New Zealand was officially formed in 1995. It has since gone on to distribute 12 million books to over 100,000 students participating from 530 schools, 280 childcare centres and more than 200 sponsors and donors.
Not content with only that, Alan Duff came to Australia in 2001 to help set up Books in Homes Australia.
Between April and November that year, the Department of Education, Science and Training funded a pilot of the Books in Homes Primary Program in 93 selected schools in Far North Queensland and the Northern Territory. This successfully reached 10,800 primary aged children, delivering 75,675 books-of-choice.
The overwhelmingly positive response of the children to book ownership changed perceptions and increased expectations in many communities. The program grew. By 2010 it had delivered The Books in Homes Primary Program to 51 schools near Dubbo in the Murdi Paaki Region of NSW, 42 remote schools in the Kimberley Region of Western Australia, and 82 very remote schools the Northern Territory.
A staggering 585,959 books-of-choice were successfully distributed to over 21,500 children over 17 school terms!
Since that time, with the help of sponsors, donations, volunteer role models and much more, the charity has distributed over 2.5 million books across Australia, through its early childhood, preschool and primary programs.
So how does it work?
Scholastic Australia sources a list of titles to send to the Book Selection Committee who then put together a catalogue to take into participating schools. Children get to browse the catalogue, some hands on in their school library, and choose books they want to read. The books are handed out to eager children at a special book giving assembly, in their very own book bag.
At these assemblies, children interact with, and are inspired by fun Role Models, who talk about how reading has impacted or influenced them, entertain the children by doing live illustration, reading aloud, performing a story, and more. Students can win additional book packs by entering regular competitions featured in the monthly e-zine THE BRIDGE, and have the opportunity to be rewarded with additional books via the' Caught Being Good Program', where students are awarded for excellent or improved school attendance, reaching reading and literacy goals, and helping peers.
Books in Homes' mission is to enhance self-worth through book ownership. If you wish to support this wonderful initiative, you can do so by fundraising, volunteering, sponsoring and donating. See their website for further details!
Introduction by Fiona C Lloyd
Some photos from the Books in Homes Australia website: