Indigenous Literacy Program


Language Rich Conversations

The core of the SEE IT SAY IT project is early literacy. It involves the use of Immersive Reading overlays, on a yarn or an information text, that are used to support Indigenous parents in the "read aloud" process with young children. Its focus is to create a "language rich conversation" around the yarn or text. The Iconic Reading process may also be used to enhance and encourage the use of "local" languages

One Mob Day
On Dharawhal Land

Emu and the River
A Tale from the Gumbainggir People

Our Objectives

By introducing early literacy in the local indigenous community, we are creating equal opportunity and implementing knowledge that will greatly enhance their futures.

Once children start school, difficulty with reading contributes to school failure, which in turn can increase the risk of absenteeism, non-completion of school, juvenile delinquency, substance abuse, and teenage pregnancy - all of which can perpetuate the cycles of poverty and dependency.

We are here to support change during the early years.

Early Literacy

Our Program

Supporting Indigenous Literacy

SEE IT SAY IT takes a fresh approach to supporting indigenous literacy using Immersive Reading and Iconic Reading. Immersive Reading (PAIR) consistently provides children with enhanced literacy opportunities by supporting parents and ‘adult readers’ in the ‘read aloud’ and ‘tell aloud’ situations. The books are embedded with prompts and questions that the adult reader can use to engage the child in a language rich conversation.

All yarns and factual content are inspired or told by local communities while the literacy scaffolding is designed by early literacy educators. Printing and distribution costs are supported by local Rotary Clubs.

The See It, Say It, Share It team meets with various First Nations Groups (AECG's community groups and schools) to share a local yarn that is important to them.

The “yarn” is recorded or written for the See It, Say It, Share It team to re-wrok into the text of a picture book.

The See It, Say It, Share It team approaches local Rotary Clubs to seek funding for picture development, book design and production costs.

A sample double page spread is created for First Nations Groups to explore and ensure it is “true to the yarn”.

The book is shared with the First Nations Groups and interested parties for feedback and revisions

After all feedback has been received and all revisions completed the book is ready for final approval by the local AECG.

The book goes into print production and copies are supplied, at no cost, to the group who shared their “yarn”

A national library of First Nation Yarns is created. By using Immersive and Iconic reading techniques these books strongly support indigenous literacy development.

Questions Answers

IRIS (Immersive Reading Indigenous Support & Iconic Reading Indigenous Support) is built on the PAIR system of Read Aloud.

Iconic Reading versions are usually provided when community literacy rates are low. They use icons/images to tell the story/ help guide the reader and encourage a language-rich conversation.

Reading a text does not only mean knowing the letters and words that are formed with them, but also means knowing how to interpret meanings, discovering metaphors, analogies. Basic knowledge of the visual language.

All yarns and factual content are inspired or told by local communities. The literacy scaffolding is designed by early literacy educators.

Is there Aboriginal or First Nation consensus and oversight? The local Aboriginal Education Consultative Groups (AECG’s) provide oversight, advice and an Indigenous viewpoint.

The NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Inc. is a not for profit Aboriginal organization that provides advice on all matters relevant to education and training with the mandate that this advice represents the Aboriginal community viewpoint.

Originating or occurring naturally in a particular place; native

Early Literacy and Pre-Literacy are the building blocks of a child’s literacy.

Parent Assisted Immersive Reading (PAIR) is an at-home read-aloud program that accelerates reading readiness in young children. It is designed for use with children aged two to nine years old.

Its benefits are dramatic, broad-ranging and long-lasting.

The PAIR program involves parents regularly reading aloud to their child while at the same time engaging them in meaningful conversation about the book.

These picture books are specifically designed to be easy for a parent to use with their child.

They come with vital prompts, tips, and questions that allow parents to effectively enrich each reading session.

P.A.I.R. books capture a child’s interest from the start.

Illustrations are bold and colourful and the stories wholesome.

P.A.I.R. is based on a wealth of local and international research. Its purpose and structure are underpinned by the work of some of the world’s leading educators. P.A.I.R. is designed to help parents make their child ‘reading-ready’.

Put simply – If parents read aloud to their child regularly during the early years they can lift their child’s reading skills significantly, now and for the future.

PAIR works just as well in the teacher/student situation.

Aboriginal Education Consultive Group

Read Aloud occurs when an adult, often a parent, shares a book with a child. The text is read and discussed, while images are explored. Read Aloud is widely recognized as the single most important activity leading to language development.

The Rotary Club of Engadine.

It has initially been funded by the Rotary Club of Engadine but also relies on donations from other clubs and interested individuals.

Yes, all the funds raised go towards the creation, production, and distribution of the reading resources.

Immersive Reading is one of the most powerful ‘read aloud’ processes in the world. Immersive Reading uses prompts, tips, and questions (embedded on each page) that allow parents to effectively enrich each reading session.

Once children start school, difficulty with reading contributes to school failure, which can increase the risk of absenteeism, leaving school, juvenile delinquency, substance abuse, and teenage pregnancy - all of which can perpetuate the cycles of poverty and dependency.

This resource is provided at no cost to schools with high Indigenous populations, community health centres and other Indigenous community support groups.

Yarning is a conversational process that involves the sharing of stories and the development of knowledge. It prioritises indigenous ways of communicating, in that it is culturally prescribed, cooperative, and respectful

Illustrated Yarns

Who We Are

John Walters

The SEE IT SAY IT approach to early literacy was the brainchild of John Walters. His vision has been realised with the extensive contributions of illustrators, writers and production services. The Rotary Club of Engadine supports and funds this important initiative.

John Walters is a reading specialist (focusing on pre-literacy and reading-readiness), a researcher and an award-winning author. An innovative educator, he was also a school principal, an educational consultant with the NSW Department of Education and a lecturer at the University of NSW.

John is the creator of:

  • The Reading Box reading series
  • Murder Under the Microscope – SBS Television
  • Grammar Conventions (series)
  • Formative Assessment Now (FAN) toolkit
  • Parent Assisted Immersive Reading (PAIR) and Iconic Reading
  • See It – Say It – Share It, Indigenous early literacy project

He is regularly invited to speak and work nationally and internationally around pre-literacy.


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