People in a big hall looking at books.

Huntly Communities of Readers project

The Huntly Communities of Readers project commenced in January 2020 and delivered professional development, books, visits, experiences and programmes for staff and students, and support to help strengthen the school library’s online presence and services.

Huntly community of readers

Huntly College is a co-educational decile 1 secondary school on the western banks of the Waikato River with a roll that is over 80% Māori. It has an innovative and broad curriculum and the Principal and school leaders are passionate advocates for reading for pleasure. National Library and Huntly Secondary College were the two partners in this project.

The vision was for Huntly College to become associated with reading. The school and the National Library worked together to support staff and student leaders to promote and inspire students to read for pleasure and wellbeing.

The project commenced in January 2020 and delivered professional development, books, visits, experiences and programmes for staff and students, and support to help strengthen the school library’s online presence and services. The project closed in July 2021.

Events and professional development

The Huntly Community of readers project ran professional development and events.

Professional development

As the focus for this project was supporting the staff at Huntly College as readers, the National Library provided books for teachers related to their interests and ran a series of PD sessions for staff that focused:

  • on being a reading role model
  • on creating a school reading culture
  • helping students choose books to read for pleasure
  • and exploring books and book chat

At one of the sessions we shared the Book and Beyond guide, which staff used to explore a range of sophisticated picture books.

Guides for exploring children's and YA literature

Events

To generate interest and knowledge of the diverse array of books available for young people, National Library staff ran a Speed-date-a-genre session at Huntly College for students and staff. They were able to take books away with them from the event and feedback from staff indicated that the event helped generate a buzz in classrooms about the books.

All students from Huntly College visited the National Library He Tohu Tamaki session, and the Auckland Museum.

A group of Huntly College students attended sessions at the Schools programme at the NZ Writers Festival in May 2021.

Huntly College festival of Stories

In July 2021 Huntly College rounded off their two-year involvement in the Communities of Readers with a two-day Festival of Stories for students and whānau, which included books, author and illustrator workshops and cultural evening. Five authors captivated the students with stories and workshops.
Feedback from the event included this comment:

...a student said that she had started to read. She excitedly told me about her book of choice. As I listened, she casually added, "we're all reading now, me and the girls...". Another student got home on Friday and started writing poetry. She's barely stopped since then

Huntly College project research report

The Auckland University of Technology School of Education were commissioned to undertake research for the community projects in Phase 1.

Read the Huntly College Communities of readers project report A Changing Story of Reading at Huntly College