The Honey Ant Readers are a set of books and supporting resources to help teach Indigenous Australian learners to read. The materials also support:
The resources help educators to teach literacy within the context of Indigenous culture, building on familiar words and languages to encourage both reading and writing. They also teach reading to learners by incorporating aspects of Aboriginal English into the text, while building oral Standard Australian English (SAE) through songs and rhymes.
We know that it is very difficult for people to learn to read and write in a language they do not speak. We also know that once a person can read in one language, they can transfer that skill to another.
With the Honey Ant Readers, learners learn to read in the language they speak in the playground, their lingua franca. In doing this we pay respect to the language of the reader and build self-esteem and pride within the learner. In the case of many Indigenous Australians this is a form of Aboriginal English. The learners can then transfer their reading skills to reading and writing in SAE.
The resources include a wide range of activities which have been written specifically with Aboriginal English speakers in mind. These have a focus on phonics and grammar to reinforce and teach oral SAE. They include original songs and rhymes which assist learners of English as an additional language in acquiring SAE. Once SAE has been acquired orally, learning to read in that language is easier because it is meaningful.
The Honey Ant Readers were originally written as the core texts of a ‘learn-to-read’ package. They have evolved to have other applications, such as:
For many Indigenous people in Australia, Aboriginal English (AE) is a first language. In the schooling context, we often refer to this as 'the language of the playground'. Learning to read in first language has many known cognitive benefits. Legitimising a student’s first language also improves confidence, heightens self esteem and leads to feelings of security and well-being. This in turn leads to enhanced academic success.
A range of differences between SAE and AE are considered in the Honey Ant Readers in order to best cater for the Indigenous-learner. These are:
The Honey Ant Readers are written to assist Indigenous beginner readers of all ages with their print literacy. The reading levels are not linked to age, but to individual progress.
As the themes in the books cover traditional Indigenous activities or, in some cases stories passed down through the generations, older readers are comfortable reading the books without being made to feel ‘childlike’.
Materials & Pre-Reading Resources
There are 15 Honey Ant Reader books that provide a staged set of early readers for learning to read. These are accompanied by matching hands-on resources that encourage interactive learning and prepare the young beginners for reading. The Honey Ant Readers can be purchased in a Set (a complete set of all resources needed for a school), in separate Book Kits or as individual books.
The pre-reading resources are designed to help learners with their oral language skills, to stimulate their interest and engagement in the learning process, and through pictures, to introduce the reading of words. These products are an excellent tool for preparing emerging readers for the Honey Ant Reader book series. Pre-reading resources include the 10 Picture Cards, Bingo Game Cards, Colour Cards, Bushtucker/Animal Cards and the book Colours.
Writing resources help learners transition from reading words in books to learning to write. My Activity Book 1 contains fun, colouring-in and writing activities that reinforce the vocabulary found in Honey Ant Readers reading books 1 to 5. My Activity Book 2 contains word, sentence, number, art, craft, cooking and science activities, that not only reinforce the vocabulary found in Honey Ant Readers reading books from 6 to 10 but also incorporate other engaging activities at a more advanced level.