A pop-up library brings books to young families in non-urban areas

Organisation: Mission Australia

Project: Mobile Pop-Up Literacy Trailer

Amount: $19,120

Year of grant: 2015

Mission Australia has been working with disadvantaged families and children in the Cairns region for more than thirty years. In 2015, The John Villiers Trust provided a grant for a Mobile Pop-Up Literacy Trailer to enable Mission Australia to visit isolated and disadvantaged communities and reach families that often do not engage with early education, health and social services.

The trailer houses a library and other resources to provide books and free literacy coaching for families, with school readiness as a major focus. The mobile literacy coaching program specifically targets children aged 0-5 and their families in non-urban areas to help improve school readiness and encourage a love of learning. It provides opportunities and support for children and their families in the Cairns southern corridor to help them overcome learning challenges.

Children whose parents read with them in the early years of life show markedly better performance in school, even into their teens.

The Mobile Pop-Up Literacy Trailer has been specially designed to be responsive to the specific needs of the parent and child and the community’s understanding of early literacy. It offers a safe, fun, all-purpose area for children and their parents to have access to books, a tranquil designated space to read them, and professional staff and volunteers to guide and coach their literacy skills. Reading tents complete with mats and colourful pillows can accommodate a number of families and provide the quiet, intimate space necessary to encourage the parent and child reading experience.

The Mobile Pop-Up Literacy Trailer is a regular visitor to communities outside Cairns as well as attending playgroup sessions and community events throughout the year such as NAIDOC Week, Book Week, ATSI Children’s Day, Child Protection Week and Under 8s Week.