Book Week is Infectious!

'Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or a duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift.' - Children's fiction author Kate DiCamillo.

The Children's Book Council of Australia was established in 1945 as a not-for-profit, volunteer run organisation which aims to engage the community with literature for young Australians. I was drawn to wonder whether, after all these years, this is still relevant today. In asking myself this question, I reflect back to my own childhood and in particular, primary school days. I vividly remember my Mum spending many hours on ‘home-made’ dress up outfits for my sister and I. It does make me chuckle when I think back to the ‘cat in the hat’ outfit we created. It was not very good, but it did have a lasting impression!!

At A.B. Paterson College this week, we have celebrated Book Week in a big way, with the theme 'Curious Creatures, Wild Minds'. We do see reading as a precious gift, I feel, and as such should celebrate and acknowledge this gift. We are fortunate to have excellent reading resources, passionate staff, a strong curriculum connection, an enviable fiction and non-fiction collection, reading challenges, Book Week parades focused on acknowledging 'book characters' over dress-ups and, the most important ingredient, the combination of our staff, students and families who tirelessly work together.

A plethora of opportunities were on offer throughout this week for all students to engage in. To name just a few, we had visiting authors, celebrity guests reading in both libraries, curious creatures board games, drop everything and read, curious creatures STEAM contest and of course a LIVE Stream of the Book Week character parade on Thursday and Friday for the Prep - Year 3 students. 

Each and every day is filled with opportunities to expand our reading horizons, whether this is within large or small groups, during breaks, in classrooms, inquiry spaces or in warm and cosy reading places, such as the popular reading areas in both the Lilly Pilly Learning Centre and The Homestead.

Building individual reading skills and habits is so important, as are the benefits children receive from being read to.

As the cleverly named Paige Turner blogged, the benefits of reading together can include:

  • Builds relationships - creating deeper bonds between child and parent;
  • Provides new experiences, awareness building about the world outside home;
  • Improves communication, building greater vocabulary, speech patterns and enunciation;
  • Improved concentration - story time providing an ideal incentive to build concentration; and 
  • A lifetime love of books!

No skill is more important to a child's development than reading. Even in our digital age, reading is still essential for communication and learning, and children who learn to love reading have a pastime that will engage their imaginations and intellects for the rest of their lives.

Any article around books and reading today also brings a question about 'books and screens'. I understand and appreciate all comments and concerns surrounding the screens vs paper issue. However, I know, 'electronic devices are here to stay'. I wish to put forward the question that, rather than discussing which is better, we should be seeking how we may best utilise both to better support our students. This is what we continue to focus on at A.B. Paterson College with a combination of our outstanding library spaces and blended learning programmes such as Literacy Planet and Accelerated Reader (AR).

I wish to thank all staff for a highly successful Book Week in 2020 and the detailed planning around the engaging activities for students. In particular, the Library Team who did a wonderful job creating a truly original Book Week. 

Simon Edgar
Head of Junior School