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Big Mob Echidnas

Reading Tracks - Book 11

Told in the first person, a young lady follows echidna tracks through grass and under rocks to find a big mob of echidnas. She is helped by her mother to carry them home in a bag, where her family help her to clean and cook them. Book 11 in the Reading Tracks series.

Margaret James, M.Ed (TESOL), is the winner of several accolades including NT Australian of the Year finalist, QUT Faculty of Education outstanding alumni, Courier Mail 50 Brightest and Best. She was shaped by her multilingual rural childhood in Southern Africa where Indigenous languages surrounded her. This significantly influenced her choice of tertiary studies - among these were linguistics, languages, education, Teaching English as an Additional Language, choral conducting and voice. This background was to prove invaluable when, after a fulfilling and varied career in several countries, she moved into Indigenous Education in Australia. The paucity of engaging, early-reading material for EALD learners and her relationship with Elders of several Australian Nations, led her to develop several linguistically and culturally appropriate books and resources in English and several Aboriginal languages. Her first series is the innovative and highly successful Honey Ant® Readers. While visiting schools and communities in order to deliver Professional Development for the Honey Ant® Readers, Margaret became increasingly aware of the similar need for engaging, early-reading material for older learners as well. She worked closely with Elders, students and illustrators to develop linguistically and culturally appropriate learn-to-read story books for older readers, and books which could be enjoyed by non-Indigenous readers equally, while teaching them about the cultures and food gathering practices of Australian First Peoples. This included trips to the desert and the coast with Elders and children who shared their knowledge about tracking, hunting and fishing for food. Reading Tracks® - stories about hunting, tracking and fishing - is the result! Marjorie Nyunga Williams is a language teacher, translator, artist, singer and Arrernte Elder. Marjorie is a cultural advisor and mentor to Margaret, and has inspired many people when co-presenting at national conferences and working in schools with her. The students thrive on her use of their languages in their classrooms. Marjorie co-authored, illustrated and edited this book. Marjorie loves to tell her grandchildren traditional stories while they fall asleep at night. She also likes to talk about the experiences she had growing up with her grandparents, learning their traditional ways, so that she can pass this knowledge on to the next generation. In order to provide information for the Reading Tracks® books, Marjorie took the team out on cultural excursions with her family.

A unique series of progressive readers developed with Indigenous Elders and community. Fills a gap in the young adult and adult Indigenous learn-to-read market. Instils pride and confidence in Indigenous readers. Methods of tracking and hunting echidnas are authentic, contibuted by Elders, embedded in a fictional, but realistic, story that Indigenous people can identify with. The story covers contemporary hunting and cultural practices, as well as history. The book raises awareness and understanding of Indigenous cultures for non-Indigenous learners. For such a unique resource developed with many contributors, the book is good value. FOR: Indigenous students learning to read in schools or adult education organisations e.g. prisons. Engaging becasue it is about their lives. Also for non-Indigenous students of all ages to learn about Indigenous hunting practices. Broadens awareness, deepens understanding and changes attitudes on Australias first peoples. WHY: Fun, colourful, humorous illustrations engage even the most reluctant readers. Unique books for Middle school and older learners. Brochures, website, speak at conferences, promotional material to stakeholders, media - radio, video, TV, newspaper. Social media. Flyers.

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