Primary school radio show boosts attendance, literacy | radioinfo

Primary school radio show boosts attendance, literacy

Tuesday 26 June, 2018
Student Sarah Martorella. (ABC News: Henrzy Zwartz)

Smithton Primary School is on the air. 

Under the guidance of youth worker Dudley Billing, a group of upper primary students have launched an in-house radio station.

Students from the school in far north-west Tasmania edit, produce and write a weekly 15-minute radio show, broadcast over the school announcement system during the Friday lunch break.

The process of preparing a segment is entirely student directed, from research to recording.

The ABC reports that one third of students at the school identify as Indigenous, one of the highest rates in Tasmania, and their culture is often the subject of the radio programs.

"We found it also has some great literacy outcomes and [by] making the radio show in-house we have a lot more scope around inclusion of all students and what music we can play,” Billing said.

Indigenous student Savannah Swan said the radio show helped bring cultural experiences to life.

"It's great that we learn about our culture and we get to talk about it and share it. It makes me proud and happy about who I am," she said.

Principal Leslee White said school attendance rates had gone up since the radio initiative commenced a year ago.

"The attendance rates have gone up 2 per cent, and while that may not sound like a lot that has actually been huge."

The initiative aims to build up enough momentum to get more of the program aired on the local radio station.

"But small steps," said Billing. "Building that confidence in themselves and each other, and learning about one another and working together on projects, those are the fundamental skills which play such an important role in young adulthood."

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