A literacy group based in Canberra is using new technology to improve reading and writing among Indigenous children.
Brooke Boney

16 Jan 2014 - 3:44 PM  UPDATED 16 Jan 2014 - 7:15 PM

The Indigenous Reading Project is giving Kindles to young students to help re-ignite their love for reading.

Director of the project, Daniel Billing says the new technology is being used to encourage children to pick up a book.

“Kids love new technology and they're very interested in accessing it and finding out all about it, I think the incentive of being able to earn a Kindle for themselves is an exciting one for them,” said Mr Billing.

In 2013, 105 children from across the country were given an e-reader on loan. But if they met all of their reading goals, they were allowed to keep it.

After one year of e-learning, the results proved that bargaining can be successful, with 89 of the students meeting their set targets.

The average amount of time spent reading went up by 102 per cent.  Fluency rose by nearly 25 per cent and comprehension test scores improved by 57 per cent.

Melbourne University professor Marcia Langton is a patron of the program.

She says the project is about introducing the next generation of Indigenous kids to a love for books.

“Once you introduce people to a love of books, they never look back,” said Ms Langton.

A $10,000 donation from last year's Midwinter Ball at Parliament House enabled the project to run this year.

But it's not just the children themselves who are benefitting from the program.

"We often have flow-on effects in families, so a younger sibling will see the older brother or sister reading and they'll want to get involved, and even mums and dads re-engaging in reading, and that's really exciting when you see those flow-on effects," said Mr Billing.