Upcoming festivals and events — immerse your students in books and reading!

A variety of reading and writing related festivals and events over the next few months offer the chance to immerse your students in literature.

A neon sign that reads all we have is words
Image by Alexandra. License to use.

Reading and writing

Auckland and Wellington have recently hosted Writers and Readers festivals, Christchurch folk will get to enjoy Word in August, and Auckland’s Going West 2018 takes place from 1 to 23 September.

These celebrations feature extraordinary line-ups of national and international writers for young and old and are an important reminder of how symbiotic the relationship is between reading and writing.

How can children be expected to know how or want to write well if they haven’t also developed a love of reading and inhaled the richness of language crafted by people dedicated to the craft of writing?

The real importance of reading is that it creates an ease and intimacy with the process of writing; one comes to the country of the writer with one's papers and identification pretty much in order. Constant reading will pull you into a place (a mind-set, if you like the phrase) where you can write eagerly and without self-consciousness. It also offers you a constantly growing knowledge of what has been done and what hasn't, what is trite and what is fresh, what works and what just lies there dying (or dead) on the page.
— Stephen King

Book Night

First up is Book Night on 22 May when readers across the country read for 15 or more minutes. Register your location and go in the prize draw on the Book Discussion Scheme’s website.

National Simultaneous Storytime

This year, LIANZA has partnered with the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) to bring the National Simultaneous Storytime on 23 May to New Zealanders. The event encourages libraries, schools, preschools, childcare centres, family homes, bookshops, and other places around the country to read simultaneously a picture book by an Australian author and illustrator. This year’s book is Hickory Dickory Dash by Tony Wilson and Laura Wood.

Register on the ALIA website and on 21 May, you'll get access to a range of electronic downloads and over 180 stories from the Story Box Library, including Playschool’s Jay Laga'aia's reading of the story available from 21 to 23 May 2018. Although physical copies of Hickory Dickory Dash may now be scarce in libraries, I’ve recently spotted it in toy and book stores.

Promote and support the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

On 6 June 2018, the finalists of the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults will be announced. Visit the New Zealand Book Awards website and download their comprehensive list of suggested activities (under the teachers and librarians subheading) for working with the winning books in your classroom, library, or home. They will also have a finalist poster available for download after 6 June.

Get ready for Global Read Aloud in October

Although not in term 2, an event to mark in your calendar is the 2018 Global Read Aloud (#GRA18), which kicks off on 1 October 2018. If you sign up, you’ll be included in the Google group and get access to event communications.

Start planning a 2019 Readers Cup event

Readers Cup is a reading competition for Year 9 students. Teams of four students (plus one reserve) together read a set of six books, and then compete with other school teams at an event to answer quiz questions from these books over terms 1 and 2 of the school year, with winning teams competing at finals in term 3.

The event started in Australia, spread to Auckland, and is now expanding into other regions including Manawatu (run by ReaLM) and Northland. If you’re interested in getting involved or starting one in your school/region next year, check out Annie White's SLANZA 2017 conference presentation Readers Cup tool kit (available on the 'Programme' page under 'Tuesday, concurrent session 8') for ideas and links to resources. Now is a good time to start thinking about how your school could be involved next year.

Stories Make Us calendar — inspire readers all year

If you’re looking for a colourful and entertaining poster to promote reading, visit the Australian Children’s Laureate website and download the Stories Make Us calendar. Created by Australian Children’s Laureate Morris Gleitzman and illustrated by Andrew Weldon, the 2018 calendar offers a different reason to read for each month.

Sail into Summer Reading online course

Although summer seems far off, it’s a good time to start planning in advance how you’ll prevent the summer reading slide among students.

For ideas and strategies for summer reading initiatives, register for our online course, Sail into summer reading: Keeping students reading over summer.

Developed for New Zealand school library staff and teachers, this facilitated course runs over 6 weeks. The beauty of studying online is you can learn at school or at home, at a time of day that suits.

By Jo Buchan

Jo is the Senior Specialist (Developing Readers) for Services to Schools.

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