Issue 40: The Jane Austen Literacy Foundation doubles the size of the Indigenous Reading Project's e-library!

A CONTRIBUTION FROM OUR FOUNDER, CAROLINE KNIGHT

The Jane Austen Literacy Foundation has a new literacy partnership with the Indigenous Reading Project (IRP) and the Foundation’s first funding project has doubled the size of their e-library!

In June I met with Dan Billing, Director of IRP, and the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation formed a new literacy partnership in Australia.  We have agreed to collaborate on a range of initiatives, including events, in order to fundraise and pursue our shared objective of improving the reading ability of vulnerable children.

 Dan Billing and Caroline Jane Knight.  Credit: Caroline Jane Knight

Dan Billing and Caroline Jane Knight. Credit: Caroline Jane Knight

The Jane Austen Literacy Foundation is a global charity registered in Australia and with this charitable status comes the obligation to spend a proportion of funds raised in Australia on local literacy projects.  Literacy rates among Australia’s indigenous population are considerably lower than their non-indigenous peers (only 31% of remote indigenous children reach national minimum standards for reading) and IRP’s ground-breaking program is proven to improve literacy rates among this group.

 Students consult an e-reader.  Credit: Indigenous Reading Project

Students consult an e-reader. Credit: Indigenous Reading Project

Founded in 2012, IRP’s work and values are a perfect fit for the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation – both organisations are working to improve literacy rates using technology and both use 100% of donations received on funding literacy resources and programs.  

Here’s how the IRP program works:   

  1. IRP find kids who are performing poorly but are motivated to improve. IRP test them and offer them a place in the program with the incentive of owning a tablet for improved reading ability.
  2. IRP loan students a tablet and give them access to the IRP cloud library to browse through and borrow e-books that interest them.
  3. After 12 weeks, IRP test students again. IRP also collect feedback from teachers, parents and the students themselves.
  4. IRP reward effort and achievement. If the student’s test results show significant, measurable improvement and feedback is positive, IRP give the student the tablet to keep.
  5. If the student’s test results are unchanged or lower from the baseline test and feedback is negative then the tablet is returned to IRP. IRP then offer the tablet to another student.
  6. A select number of very successful students will be offered a place in the IRP Reading for Life (RFL) program. This will provide them with ongoing support and access to IRP reading resources through their school life.

This simple and effective project is an example of the work the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation supports and our first donation of AU$2,000 was used to double the size of the IRP e-library with the purchase of 170 new titles.

This donation could not have come at a better time for us. Last year we had a very high demand for our e-books with a 48% increase in borrowings. It was a big problem for our students as we’d already used up our budget! This meant that there were times when our kids couldn’t borrow the books that they wanted to read. We now have over 170 new titles in our collection. This will ease demand and give our students an immediate benefit
— Dan Billing

You can find out more about this exciting project at www.irp.org.au

Thank you to everyone who has supported the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation in Australia – it is amazing what the Janeite and book loving community can achieve together to improve literacy rates, in honour of Jane Austen.

 A student with her e-reader.  Credit: Indigenous Reading Project

A student with her e-reader. Credit: Indigenous Reading Project

If you would like to support our work with the Indigenous Reading Project, please donate at www.janeaustenlf.org.  When you begin your donation you can choose which of our projects you wish to support with your donation.

© Caroline Jane Knight - founder and chair of the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation

 
04-Pride&Poss-RGB-29-09-16.jpg
 

If you have enjoyed this article and would like to stay up-to-date with all the workings of the Foundation, don't forget to SUBSCRIBE at the bottom of this page! You can see previous issues via the following link:

Image credit: Indigenous Reading Project