The ‘Maria’ books: the achievements and challenges of introducing dual language, culturally relevant picture books to PNG schools

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Abstract

This article describes the development and uptake of two dual-language, culturally relevant picture books in five primary schools in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The purpose of the books was to disseminate agricultural and livelihood messages both at school and at home. Schools were provided with big-book versions as permanent school resources and asked to send small-book versions home to families to both support children’s reading and encourage the uptake of the agricultural messages. Evaluations at two different time points showed that, although many teachers valued and used the books, some schools were reluctant to share the books with families. Teachers appreciated the dual-language text and culturally relevant pictures and stories, and many requested that more of these types of books be made available. For more effective book distribution, mobile phones and church networks should be used to distribute books to families and support obtained from school boards and provincial education departments of PNG.

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Simoncini, K., Pamphilon, B., & Simeon, L. (2019). The ‘Maria’ books: the achievements and challenges of introducing dual language, culturally relevant picture books to PNG schools. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 32(1), 78–93. https://doi.org/10.1080/07908318.2018.1490745

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