A desire to support its children’s early literacy and raise funds was the prologue for Waihī’s Somerset Early Learning Centre to take on Blind Low Vision NZ’s Great Kiwi Bookathon.
The challenge encouraged New Zealand’s tamariki for the month of June to read or listen to as many books as possible and raise vital funds for Blind Low Vision NZ’s support services to keep the magic of stories alive for blind, deaf-blind and low vision kiwis.
The charity’s support services include its fully accessible library, which features 36,000 audiobooks and adaptive technology services to translate text into speech or braille, and a youth library, which offers educational resources.
The charity also meets with individuals in their homes and local Blind Low Vision NZ offices to provide them personalised vision rehabilitation services.
Teacher Takeisha Kelsey told The Profile the centre came across the initiative and thought it would be a “really good learning opportunity” for its 23 tamariki to learn about fundraising, the blind and low vision community and develop their reading skills.
“They love books, and it’s good to do it for a cause, and it means they go home and read books at night time with their mums and dads,” she said.
“We aim to read one a day at our nap time and spontaneously if they want to read more… sometimes Levi [one of the kids] reads us the books.”
Takeisha said it was mainly the centre’s older tamariki, aged three and four years, who participated. The most popular books included The Wrong Book by Nick Bland, House Mouse by Barrie Watts, What’s in my House? by Roger Priddy and There Are Monsters Everywhere by Mercer Mayer.
Takeisha said the centre had raised $278 so far, surpassing their goal of $250.
“The parents of the children donate and then they share the fundraising page with their other family members so they can donate,” she said.
“We’ve got very good parent support and input.”
Blind Low Vision NZ chief executive John Mulka said he was excited to build on the Great Kiwi Bookathon, which launched last year.
“We are so thankful for the participation and donations enabling us to support children who are blind, deafblind or low vision, and their whānau live the life they chose.”