Roma local Susie Klein became a passionate devotee of education as soon as her two children started school.
Susie is a Jaularoi woman born on Mandandanji land. She is married to Brent and they have two adult children, Rebecca and Myles. She says, “The information I had read before my children started school was all about our Indigenous kids dropping out of school with low literacy and numeracy. My endeavour was to learn how school worked so my children could finish successfully.”
Never doing things by half measure, Susie trained and became a teachers’ aide giving her first-hand insight and an indepth understanding of what life was like for students attending school. She quickly learnt the importance of early literacy and that it is never too early to start reading to babies.
Susie believes everybody can be empowered to read to the youngest members of families and our community. “In my role as a teachers’ aide, I gained experience with all age groups and learnt a great deal about early literacy. I became truly intrigued by the apparent endless opportunities for students who had a love of reading. This led me to undertake tertiary studies in education, to help and encourage as many children as possible to become competent readers,” she said.
Once Susie’s own children successfully completed their school education, she had some spare time to pursue the dream of writing her own book to boost early literacy. At the recent launch of her book, Read Me, Susie shared the story of watching a little boy read the book with his Mum, whilst he was eating a mango. “I am very proud of how relevant this book is to such a diverse range of young children, it is so easy to read and the different fonts and text sizes seem to appeal to younger readers.”
After the launch, Susie spent the morning selling and signing her books and there is hope the book will be used in the local First Five Forever literacy programs. To learn more about Susie Klein, who is also an esteemed artist, please visit susieklein.com.
Words and Images by Justine Miller