Books & Literature

Aboriginal Language book launched to build first language literacy in Aṉangu children

A picture book for the Pitjantjatjara language, illustrated by a local student, has been launched on the APY Lands.

A picture book for the Pitjantjatjara language, illustrated by a local student, has been launched on the APY Lands.

The launch coincides with today, August 4, being National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day with this year’s theme, ‘My Dreaming, My Future’.

Education Minister Boyer was joined by Aboriginal Affairs Minister Maher along with Deputy Premier Susan Close during their visit to the APY Lands this week and read the book with students. 

The book features each sound in the Pitjantjatjara language and is represented by a picture of a bird, bug or animal.

SACE student at Ernabella Aṉangu School, Kellis Dare Lawrie drew the illustrations featured throughout the book.  

It is part of a suite of resources developed to build first language literacy of Aṉangu children in the remote APY Lands, Yalata and Oak Valley.

Of the 500 copies printed, half have gone to the 10 Aṉangu schools (Pipalyatjara, Murputja, Amata, Ernabella, Kenmore Park, Fregon, Mimili, Indulkana, Yalata, Oak Valley) and the other half will be given to local families through family centres, preschools and playgroups. 

The book was made in conjunction with and supported by Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Education Committee (PYEC) – an Aṉangu -run organisation that leads the strategy for the education of Anangu in the Anangu schools. 

Blair Boyer MP, Minister for Education, Training and Skills, says “The picture book developed is an outstanding example of innovation and creativity to develop a resource to support our goal to build first language schools.

“Our wish is for this to support connection and engagement to education within the school and the broader communities. 

“It was such a joy to be part of a reading of this book at Oak Valley this week and for myself, to listen and learn about the important connections to culture and land this book promotes for our young people – and something they can be proud of.”

Kyam Maher says “Language plays an important role in fostering a positive sense of cultural self-identity and helps to improve student engagement in the classroom.

“It’s important that language continues to be taught in ways that connects with our young people, and by having our young people involved in driving that, so it can continue for future generations.”

Bronwyn Milera, Director, Aboriginal Education, Department of Education says “Working with Aboriginal language communities to lead long-term language maintenance and revival through education is an important component of the Aboriginal Education Strategy.

“The illustrations provided by Kellis are a wonderful visual opportunity for bringing remote South Australia to life and providing an additional educational tool.”

For more information about National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day click the link here.

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