Storytime in the diverse languages of Hume’s community

More than 120 languages other than English are spoken by Hume residents and with 34.6 per cent of Hume residents who speak a language other than English, Hume City Council is committed to supporting its culturally diverse communities through education and learning opportunities.

Bilingual Storytime is a prime example of the sorts of programs that ensure people of all cultural backgrounds have access to learning opportunities through the Hume Global Learning Village. This involves Storytime sessions, where storytellers read stories, sing songs, recite rhymes and present craft activities in English, Arabic, Turkish and Vietnamese for children between the ages of 0 and 5. Bilingual Storytime sessions have proved extremely popular and are held at preschools, childcare groups, playgroups, women’s groups and in community group meetings, as well as at The Age Library in Broadmeadows.

Roula El Jammal from Hume City Council has been reading stories in English and in her first language, Arabic, in Bilingual Storytime sessions since February 2005.

“When I’m storytelling in kindergartens and childcare centres, I have some kids saying, ‘Oh, she’s speaking my language!’ If children have a good foundation in their first language, it will be easier for them to learn English. The English speaking children also have an opportunity to learn a song or rhyme in another language,” Roula said. “Some mothers and fathers want to entertain their kids, so they take them to shopping centres to play. But if you bring them to Storytime, the relationship between parents and children is strengthened. The parents learn more songs and stories to read and entertain their kids, and the children grow to love reading and stories, which will enhance their future education.”