SPCA Learn-to-Read storybooks now in five languages!
25,992 books given to primary schools to teach kids about animal welfare...
SPCA has launched translated learn-to-read storybooks for New Zealand classrooms, featuring twelve animal rescue stories.
SPCA storybooks are part of the organisation’s free in-school programme. Two storybook collections have been launched in the past two years in English, and now the books have been translated into te reo Māori, gagana Sāmoa, lea faka-Tonga and Mandarin Chinese.
This week, 25,992 printed Te Reo books are being sent to more than 2,000 primary schools free of charge, and gagana Sāmoa, lea faka-Tonga and Mandarin Chinese editions are available to download from SPCA's online teachers' portal.
The first collection of SPCA storybooks was released in August 2016 and featured six real-life SPCA companion animals rescue stories. The second collection, which featured six farm animal rescue stories, launched in October 2017.
SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen says SPCA’s education programme is evidence based and innovatively designed with the aim of breaking the cycle of cruelty towards animals throughout New Zealand.
“Each year, we see the number of animal welfare complaints SPCA receives increasing and the amount of neglect and abuse we see in New Zealand is unacceptable. We believe that teaching animal care and welfare at a young age is vital to changing this.
“All of our series of storybooks build on the overwhelming success of our education programme which is available to all Primary and Intermediate Schools in the country.”
The storybooks have been carefully produced to align with the New Zealand curriculum and support the development of children’s reading and language skills. Each book is focused on an intriguing age appropriate narrative for children.
“Our storybooks have been carefully developed to teach core animal care and wellbeing lessons through engaging, emotive and thought provoking stories, whilst increasing children’s reading mileage, and supporting the development of their reading skills and strategies.
“When used alongside the English versions of each reader, our translated versions will have the added value of supporting children’s learning of additional languages, nurturing children’s first language/s, whilst strengthening their English language and literacy development,” says Andrea.
SPCA’s education programme originally launched in 2016 after three years of development. It was created by teachers for teachers, and includes classroom resources, teaching plans linked to the New Zealand Curriculum, a teachers’ and students’ online portal.
Teaching notes on all 12 books are available to teachers through the SPCA Teachers’ Portal. Suggested activities help to extend and consolidate children’s understanding of animal care concepts and increase their empathy for the animal characters within the stories.
“There is considerable research that shows a connection between human and animal abuse. The storybooks teach compassion and respect towards animals in a tangible but engaging way for children.
“Research shows reading can ‘trick’ our brains into thinking we are part of the story, and the empathy we feel for characters in stories can wire our brains to reflect this sensitivity in real life. This is crucial in helping shift attitudes and behavior towards animals, helping to reduce cruelty in the future,” says Andrea.
“By launching both SPCA storybooks series in more languages, we are hoping that all children across New Zealand can enjoy engaging with the stories.”
Children and their families can access resources to support the books at the SPCA Kids’ Portal. Teachers can register for free, curriculum-aligned resources at the SPCA Teachers’ Portal.