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Although it has an abundance of outdoor opportunities, the small rural town of Waiau in North Canterbury lacks many of the after-school learning resources found in larger communities. With this in mind, and a desire to stimulate a love of literature in local teens, Waiau flower grower Marina Shearer launched The Kindle Book Reading Club in 2012.
Marina saw reading as an avenue for rural youth to view the world through different eyes, broaden their ideas, and help their school English programme by learning more about fiction and other genres. “We wanted to provide a structured and stimulating social activity aimed at exposing 12 to 16 year-old students to a wider range of books and authors,” she said.
Each member of the club is allocated a Kindle e-reader that is loaded with a book selected by the course supervisor. Teens are given time to read the book and prepare a review for fortnightly meetings. At the meetings the students are expected to deliver the review, and then they receive a further book download. By the end of the year, once all assignments are successfully completed, the student gets to keep the Kindle.
For Kitty Brett, 16, the club has introduced her to “books that I would not have picked for myself but have really enjoyed. I find it interesting to hear other people’s opinions about the books and I like reading in the Kindle format.”
Neil Wilkinson, Principal of Amuri Area School, the local high school in nearby Culverden, is a keen supporter of the club. “Anything that stimulates and fosters a love of reading and develops literacy is worth pursuing,” was Neil’s view. “If kids will read using the e-medium, then it’s worth using, especially if they are reluctant users of library books!”
The Tindall Foundation hopes to improve wellbeing and resilience among young people and the wider community through Funding Managers, especially in isolated and rural communities. We allocated this programme $5000 per year for up to three years through our Funding Manager, Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA). That enables ten children to complete each year’s course and to earn a Kindle.
ADRA National Programme Director Evan Fray said The Kindle Book Reading Club ticks the boxes for the organisation’s youth development criteria. “Although these children don’t come from underprivileged backgrounds, they do live in an isolated area, and to enhance and enrich their culture through reading is a gift that will in the long term benefit their lives and the local community.”
For more information contact:
Marina Shearer, Manager
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