Buddies and laughs in the Premiers' Reading Challenge

Literacy and numeracy skills lay the foundation for success in learning and in life. The Premiers' Reading Challenge is a practical and fun way for children and students from birth to Year 10 to build these life skills.

Cat reading with her son, Robbie

This year almost 113,000 students and children completed the Premiers' Reading Challenge. Together, they read a total of 4.3 million books.

Comedy, mystery and picture story books are the most popular for the youngest participants in this year's Premiers' Reading Challenge (PRC).

Wheelers Hill Primary School teacher Victoria Bruges-Cannon and three other PRC coordinators worked together to promote PRC to the whole school in creative ways.

Reading in the yard

Grade 1 teacher Victoria came up with the idea of a 'buddies' program for Prep to Grade 2 students. The program sees Grade 3 students go out to the yard during breaks, twice a week, to read with early years' students.

'It has been lovely to see the buddies sharing books, and it is a sight that is becoming more frequent in our yard,' Victoria says.

She says there has been a lot of interest in lunchtime reading. On one occasion, while on yard duty, Victoria heard one young reader say that without the PRC, she would not have 'found the rainbow fairy' – a new favourite character in a PRC listed book. It was a special moment for the Grade 1 student.

'As a school, the interest and enthusiasm towards reading has grown,' she says. 

'The most amazing part is to help students find books that make them laugh, smile, question and learn about the world around them.'

Victoria says all of the school's 625 students participated in the PRC. The results of their efforts has been a 99 per cent completion rate, three weeks before the PRC closed on 6 September.

Nightly dose of humour

Comedy is the genre of choice for Grade 1 student Robbie at Torquay Coast Primary School.

He enjoys reading humour and fiction books so much that he easily reached the required number of 30 books for his year level.

'We read two chapters each night and he gets very excited about what's going to happen next,' his mum, Cat, says.

The Weirdo series by Australian-Vietnamese artist and author, Anh Do, is his favourite.

Since participating in the PRC for the first time, Robbie now sees visits to the library as a fun activity. His mother says the PRC has set him up for lifelong learning in literacy.

'It has built his confidence in reading and improved his enjoyment,' Cat says.

The Premiers' Reading Challenge will start again in March 2020.