The Equity Foundation’s Storyville initiative was founded on the premise that children must be exposed to storytelling to develop a love of reading. Research shows that one of the best predictors of children’s success in learning to read is being read to aloud.
Storyville harnesses the talent of performers to encourage children to read. The program specifically targets schools with socio-economic disadvantage and/or schools where for a majority of students, English is a second language. These are often indicators that children are not being read to at home.
The literacy foundations built by children during their early primary years are crucial to their ability to do well at school. Research identifies a clear link between the development of cognitive skills such as literacy and numeracy at an early age and higher levels of education achievement, greater employability, higher earnings and greater social participation.
Storyville connects schools with participating performers. The program also provides a unique opportunity for performers, gifted in the art of storytelling, to spark a love of reading in children and to give back to their local communities.
Why is this important?
Recent research shows 39% of Australian students don’t meet the National Proficient Standard in reading literacy and 44% of adults lack the literacy skills required to cope with the complex demands of modern life.
The benefits of early childhood education (predominantly between the ages of 2-8 years old) has been proven and accepted worldwide and yet only 15% of 3 years olds in Australia participate in pre-primary compared with the OECD average of 68.6%.  We also know that children who start school behind, stay behind which is a reality for 22% of children who start school developmentally vulnerable in Australia.
Storyville is committed to equity, inclusion and access to stories that spark the imagination, encourage play and inspire our young people to engage with books from an early age. We believe we are uniquely placed to deliver this service with connections to Australia's best actors, performers, musicians and journalists. Our service works collaboratively with other service providers to respond to localised literacy issues and priorities in school and communities.
We continue to build on term long residencies in schools across Australia. This in-school program sees a storyville storyteller visit schools weekly throughout the term, reading exciting and fun books with their allocated classes. We aim to introduce play and performance as part of the reading experience for pre-school and primary age groups.
At Storyville we recognise the importance of providing access to diverse and playful educational stories for all young Australians. We believe that technology is a powerful tool to deliver our services to schools and communities who need it most.
Through live streaming, Storyville is able to connect schools regardless of where they are on the map. One storyteller can reach over 20 schools from regional, rural and city areas in a 40minute session online. School kids can see their fellow companions from around the state and ask questions in an open-forum style discussion.
While increasing enthusiasm around books and literacy, this new approach will also drive new conversations between our young people in cities and rural areas.
EVENTS, FESTIVALS & LIBRARIES
We provide professional storytellers as unique and engaging entertainment at one-off community events, festivals, book fairs and libraries. Storyville has been featured at Sydney Writers Festival and public libraries across Australia. Storyville frequently hosts storytime at state and local libraries, join our fantastical storytellers as they take you to other worlds, capture your imagination and inspire your hearts and minds!
“My students look forward to Storyville every week. It has fostered a love of reading and the children love the animated voices .”
- Christina Meitanis, Coburg Primary School
Whether you are a teacher, principal, student, actor or community member, we would love to hear from you. Storyville is collaborative and creative, we recognise the importance of working with like-minded organisations and individuals with the same goals. If this sounds like you, here are some of the ways you can get involved!
Have an event in mind? Would you like Storyville to come and visit your school or community?
Are you an emerging or established actor? Do you love to perform, play, inspire and engage young audiences?
SPONSORs and partners
Love the work we do and want to see more!! Let’s talk about what’s possible when we work together.