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Bookends Literacy Program turns an exciting new page

12 June 2019

Gunnedah Shire Library’s Bookend Literacy Assist program has been named as a finalist in the 2019 NSW Local Government Excellence Awards.

The program links seniors with children who need help with their reading skills, and has been achieving results.

Seniors are “borrowed” by children for one-on-one reading assistance for 20 minutes blocks. They choose a number of books from the library to read aloud to their senior, who offers help and encouragement.

The program, which won a NSW Public Libraries Association Innovation in Outreach Services Award late last year, has also been selected as a finalist in the Community Partnerships and Collaborations category (for towns with a population under 60,000) of the NSW Local Government Excellence Awards.

Award winners will be announced at a dinner in Sydney on June 20.

Librarian Christiane Birkett said the program had met with a positive response from parents who had been happy with the progress of their children’s reading skills.

“Children and parents have remarked on their increased reading skills and confidence, children are more at ease with older people, and seniors have embraced the fact that they are contributing to the wellbeing of the community,” Christiane said.

“Both the children and the seniors look forward to coming to the library for their booked sessions and interacting with each other – it’s a great inter-generational program that draws on the strengths of the seniors to help children.”

The program started after parents asked for assistance to help their children’s reading skills, and the parents themselves, both working, often were time-poor. More than 18.3 per cent of Gunnedah’s population is aged 65 and over, and within that group there are people with the time and skills to assist children.

Photo Caption: Gunnedah seniors work with students who enjoy a helping hand with their reading skills.

ENDS

Media Contact: Eliza Gallen 6740 2100.