NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Back to results
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1022284
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1839-7387
The Honey Ant Readers: An Innovative and Bold Approach to Engaging Rural Indigenous Students in Print Literacy through Accessible, Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Resources
James, Margaret
Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, v24 n1 p79-89 2014
On entering school, rural Australian children from Indigenous backgrounds are thrown into an unfamiliar environment, linguistically and culturally, which sets them up for failure. The author, working closely with elders and community in Alice Springs, has drawn on her considerable experience in both Indigenous education and TESOL to address this disadvantage by developing a progressive series of early readers specifically targeted to rural Indigenous learners. This innovative series of books and resources is developed to teach both reading and Standard Australian English (SAE) to speakers of Aboriginal English (AE). The presenter will outline the research, development, theory, publication and application of the Honey Ant Readers and will discuss their adaptability for all languages. Focussing on the particular needs of Indigenous learners, and to assist them in acquiring reading, the content is made relevant by using Indigenous themes, stories and characters. Reading is scaffolded across 20 books in the following ways: the language moves from a light form of AE (referred to as "The language of the playground") to SAE following natural stages of second language acquisition; phonic words, selected for their phonemic closeness to Central Australian Aboriginal languages are introduced gradually; the illustrations become more complex and the size and amount of text is graduated. The themes and style of storytelling are Indigenous, as are the characters in the books. Characters are referred to according to their role within family, rather than by name, for cultural reasons. The presenter will demonstrate and share ideas on the use of interactive, supplementary resources, designed to reinforce the material in the HARs, and to engage learners of all ages, including teenagers, through physical participation and fun. Songs and rhymes, central to the pedagogy, are used to reinforce Standard English grammar and pronunciation, as well as the four macro skills of language learning: reading, writing, speaking and listening. Results at this early stage show that as students engage with the materials and relate to the subject matter of the books, they find it easier to start reading. With an increased interest in reading, their literacy and oral language acquisition is accelerated. Of particular significance, parents are also engaging with their children's literacy learning as the materials are equally relevant to them. The speaker will discuss the latest HAR research findings. The principles of the pedagogy and methodology in the HARs are being applied to other learners throughout Australia and overseas. The first Readers for Chinese and Ghanaian ESL learners have been published, and the HARs have been translated into 6 Aboriginal languages.
Society for the Provision of Education in Rural Australia. P.O. Box 659, Wembly, Western Australia 6913. Tel: +08-9285-0626; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia