We have provided two shipments of readers to Vila East Primary School. Howard Mala, the principal, identified the books as being a high priority for the school. Used for pre-reading and early readers, the books were sourced in Australia and are designed to be culturally appropriate for Pacific Islanders. Previously, children were expected to learn to read using encyclopaedias and other books decades out of date misguidedly donated from Australian and New Zealand. Literacy experts maintain that the importance of using students’ backgrounds, knowledge and experiences to inform learning in the classroom and during reading instruction cannot be underestimated. According to American pedagogical theorist Gloria Ladson-Billings, this type of culturally-relevant teaching is a “kind of teaching that is designed not merely to fit the school culture to the students’ culture but also to use student culture as the basis for helping students understand themselves and others, structure social interactions, and conceptualize knowledge.”1
It is in this spirit that we offered the readers to Vila East Primary School and hope to be able to supply more into the future.
1. Ladson–Billings, B. (1992). Reading between the lines and beyond the pages: A culturally relevant approach to literacy teaching. Theory Into Practice, 31(4). Quoted from https://www.k12reader.com/an-introduction-to-culturally-relevant-reading-instruction/