Posted in Books & Reading, literacy, Reading, Teaching and Learning

Indigenous Literacy Day 2017, Brisbane Writer’s Festival

My Brisbane Writer’s Festival experience began today with the opportunity to attend the Indigenous Literacy Day:  Book Launch and Book Swap presented by the Indigenous Literacy Foundation in the beautiful Angel’s Palace.  This building is designed to be an immersive experience and the artwork on the exterior of this tent was designed by artist Gordon Hookey.


The main focus of the event was to launch the book Two ways strong written by indigenous students from Concordia Lutheran College. The book tells the story of what it is like for a young person from a remote community to have to leave home to attend boarding school.


The launch was officiated by the Foundation’s patron, Hon Quentin Bryce.  Her words were both touching and inspirational.  She began by thanking the indigenous women who have taught her throughout her life what it is to be an Elder.

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Quentin Bryce then went on to discuss how there is something irresistible about a story and that a world without stories is unimaginable.  Yet, in many homes, there are very few, if any, books.  The work of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) is to redress this imbalance.  By the end of 2017, sixteen thousand books will have been delivered to indigenous communities by the Foundation.  Importantly, many of these stories have been written by indigenous authors and celebrate indigenous ways of life, culture, languages, and traditions.  Suzy Wilson, the founder of the ILF, went on to say that these books provide opportunities to reading and literacy and this opens doors to possibilities, making children strong.

Following the formalities, guests at the event were invited to participate in a book swap by donating a favourite book and taking a book from the collection for the cost of a gold coin.

Simultaneous Indigenous Literacy Day events were being held at the Sydney Opera House, Foundation Square in Melbourne and the State Library of Western Australia in Perth.

Attending this event on a beautiful Brisbane spring day was a privilege and a wonderful way to begin the Brisbane Writer’s Festival.

One more thing….Something to keep an eye out for is the two board books for babies & toddlers that are being published by the ILF to be released in December.




Posted in Books & Reading, literacy, Read Like a Girl, Reading, Teaching and Learning, YA Literature

Help Girls Read

Help Girls Read

Help girls succeed by igniting a love to read

The importance of reading

Educators and parents alike know that reading literature can be transformative.  Research supports this assertion and validates the importance of story reading to brain development and academic success (Haven, 2007; and Krashen, 2011).

Australian teenage girls’ reading is on the decline

Disturbingly, research conducted last year in Australia found that among Australians aged 14+, “the proportion of men and women reading books has decreased in recent years, most noticeably among women. In 2010, 64.7% of Australian women 14+ read a novel in any given three months, a figure which has since fallen to 60.9%. Similarly, fewer women are reading non-fiction books than they used to, slipping from 39.2% to 34.2% between 2010 and 2015” (Roy Morgan Research, 2016).

Let’s do something about this

As a Teacher-Librarian in a girls’ school, this research is of concern to me and I wanted to do something that would make a difference to the girls in our community. A key strategy for making this difference is to focus on reading and literature promotion.

After collaborating with other passionate colleagues in the teaching and book worlds, the Read Like a Girl movement was established.

Read Like a Girl is a community partnership for the literacy advancement of girls and is a combined endeavour led by Mt Alvernia College and St Rita’s College.  Riverbend Books is a community partner in this project.  This project encapsulates a calendar of reading events aimed at instilling a foundation and love of reading in the college communities and more broadly among girls everywhere.

What we hope to do

We hope that through our calendar of events, we will give the girls in our communities the opportunity to:

  • Attend book events
  • Meet authors
  • Purchase books
  • Participate in conversations about literature, reading, and storytelling
  • Network with other girls, women, and people who value reading and academic success
  • Develop their knowledge of the vast world of books and the opportunities literacy creates

What you can do

You can support this endeavour in practical ways by:

  • Attending our events (starting with the International Women’s Day Breakfast)
  • Spreading our vision by following us on social media (#RLaG) and sharing our advocacy with your own networks
  • Purchasing books for the girls in your life
  • Speaking positively about reading
  • Providing time and space for the girls in your life to read
  • Model reading – visit a bookstore, put your feet up and enjoy a great read



Haven, K. F. (2007). We’ve reached the research results. In Story proof: The science behind the startling power of story (pp. 89-122). Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group.

Krashen, S. (2011). Free voluntary reading. Denver: Libraries Unlimited.