At this time of year the focus is on reading as we celebrate Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book Week. It’s a time for author visits to schools, writing workshops, dressing up in favourite storybook characters – all with the purpose of developing a love of reading in our students. In a world driven by technological developments that are changing the nature of future employment, the ability to read is an absolute necessity. The joy it brings is a bonus.
But how far do we go beyond dressing up and celebrating for this one week of the year? How do we engage parents as key stakeholders in this process? A movement in Sydney, Street Library Australia which is based on the US group Little Free Libraries aims to make reading front and centre by bringing it into family gardens. Family involvement is key to a child’s success as a reader as its at home that habits are formed and established.
The National Library of New Zealand in their Services to Schools provide and excellent resource to support reading both at school and at home. Included on the site is Reading for Pleasure – a Door to Success where they advocate:
The benefits of reading for pleasure are far reaching. Aside from the sheer joy of exercising the imagination, evidence indicates reading for pleasure improves literacy, social skills, health and learning outcomes. It also gives people access to culture and heritage and empowers them to become active citizens, who can contribute to economic and social development.
This site tackles reading from all angles and brings a bounty of resources together in the one place. It well worth exploring in depth. Every child is a reader – it’s not an option.
Children’s Book Week this year is coming up on 16-22 August. It’s a special week on the Australian literary calendar as an opportunity to highlight quality Australian children’s literature and, as the 2014 theme suggests, spend the week connecting readers with great stories. We are fortunate in Australia to have a strong community of writers and enthusiasts supporting the writing of children’s and adolescent’s literature. They are ensuring stories are written through Australian eyes and embedded into young minds at a time when our identity can be diluted by the mass of other pursuits that fill the lives of young people.
School libraries in particular plan this week as an opportunity to connect with readers, their teachers and their families. Visiting authors conduct writing workshops, book highlight activities are planned and special efforts are made to tie the event into student programs.
The new Australian Curriculum also supports the role of local literature in our students’ lives stating:
The presence of Australian literary texts and an increasingly informed appreciation of the place of Australian literature among other literary traditions will be part of the national English curriculum. Australia’s evolving ethnic composition and the increasing national importance placed on our geographic location in the Asia-Pacific region brings with it a variety of cultural, social, and ethical interests and responsibilities. These interests, and the collective cultural memories that have accumulated around them, are represented in a range of literatures including the inscriptional and oral narrative traditions of Indigenous Australians as well as contemporary Indigenous literature.
To assist you in making the most of the 2014 CBCA Book Week, here are a few resources to launch ideas:
We’d love to hear if you have more ideas to share? Please ‘leave a reply’ to this post.