Do you have any old children’s books begging to be read and enjoyed again?
Donations of new and used children’s books are being called for as part of new North Otago initiative “Laps not Apps”, aimed at promoting literacy and positive parent-child attachments through reading.
Launched on Friday last week, under the banner of S.K.I.P Waitaki, there are collection points around Oamaru for books suitable for children aged under 5.
The goal of Laps not Apps was to encourage parents to read to their young children, S.K.I.P project co-ordinator Kirsten Dixon said.
“Reading a book to a young child is like giving them a multivitamin for their brain,” Mrs Dixon said.
“It’s improving their vocabulary, it’s helping them understand their place in their world, it’s bonding with the person who’s reading to them, it’s social and emotional learning – there is just so much goodness in reading a book to a child.”
Laps not Apps was born after a “Talking Matters” seminar in Dunedin last year.
North Otago attendees were challenged to find ways to encourage conversation with children in their community in a tangible way.
“Our group particularly loved the idea of there being a focus on books and making sure every family had an opportunity to have books in their home and opportunity to learn skills around how to use those books,” she said.
“Talking Matters challenged us and said: ‘What project can you take back to your community – what project can you actually do, now’.”
In brainstorming, they came up with several project ideas, but they all required a good stock of books to start.
Mrs Dixon is encouraging North Otago residents to dig out any old children’s books to donate to a good cause.
“If those books could be hunted out and donated – we will very happily put them into the hands of some families who would really benefit from them and bring those stories back to life,” she said.
“We’re hoping for a really good stock of books so that as we look at more projects and hear of families who perhaps haven’t got access as easily to books then we can gift them on.”
The community response so far had been “really encouraging”, she said.
Collection points so far are: Little Wonders Oamaru, Northside New World, The Business Hive, Fenwick School, North Otago Plunket, Rebellious Rose, Waitaki Girls’ High School and all of the Oamaru kindergartens.