Antonella Di Fiori, Program Coordinator, ROOP, Melbourne, Australia.
ROOP – Reading out of Poverty
ROOP (Reading out of Poverty) is a non-profit organisation, that promotes the importance of literacy in the early years. We work in partnership with playgroups, welfare offices, laundromats and medical centres across Victoria, Australia. Through our partnerships, we are able to provide a wide range of free literacy resources and services to families and children from low socio-economic backgrounds. Our main goal is to increase awareness of the importance of early literacy.
ROOP is a non-profit organisation, in Victoria, Australia with a sole focus on providing early literacy skills and school readiness for children aged 0-5 years from low socio-economic backgrounds.
We work in partnership with playgroups, welfare offices, laundromats and medical centres in Victoria to provide young children with a range of free services and literacy resources.
ROOP’s mission is to promote the importance of developing early literacy skills, and we do this by providing free services and resources to families from disadvantaged or low socio-economic backgrounds; including immigrants, refugees and individuals that live in remote areas.
Our programs include:
• Pop-up libraries: Our pop-up-libraries are filled with donated children’s picture books. They can be found in a variety of centres within Victoria. More importantly, parents can choose and take a book home for free to read with their child.
• Literacy packs: We provide literacy packs to children to get them started in their literacy journey. These packs include a tote bag, height chart, a parent booklet, and donated books.
• Read Aloud: Our storytime sessions focus on reading aloud to children and are facilitated by our volunteers at libraries, parent groups, playgroups, and community centres. These sessions equip parents with the ability to further develop their child’s literacy experience at home.
• Multilingual baby book: We published over 30,000 copies of our multilingual baby book which comes in 12 different languages including English. These books support families in reading aloud to their children, in their mother tongue and English.
Why we do it?
90% of a child’s brain develops by age 5 and more than 1 million neural connections are formed every second, more than at any other time in life. Nourishing and stimulating a child’s mind during these years is as vital as nourishing their bodies. Developing a reading routine early on is essential to ensure children get the best start and don’t fall behind their peers before they enter primary school.
However, research investigating literacy amongst disadvantaged families found that these homes were limited in their ability to promote a healthy literacy orientated environment, suggesting that fewer books were found in the home, considerably less time was devoted to ‘reading aloud’, and the child received less language exposure and fewer visits to the local library.
We want to ensure that these children get the best start in life by developing their intellectual abilities, so they are on an even playing field with their peers and don’t fall behind. Here at ROOP, we believe literacy is the key to a life without limitations.