Celebrating Book Week’s Secret Power — Reading

  • Published on August 16, 2019

Celebrating Book Week's Secret Power — Reading

The CBCA (Children’s Book Council of Australia) Book Week kicks off tomorrow 17 August for a week of activities celebrating Australian Literature. Book Week is heralded by the announcement of the book awards on the third Friday in August at 12 noon.

The awards are presented to books in the following categories:

  • Older Readers
  • Younger Readers
  • Early Childhood
  • Picture Book
  • Eve Pownall (for information books)

(Click this link to see the Notables, a fine collection of books) from which the Short List was compiled and from which Winners were selected in each category.)

2019 Book Week Theme and Resources

The theme for this year’s Book Week is Reading is My Secret Power.

To celebrate, poet Mike Lucas has written a great poem. You can download a copy of Mike’s poem Reading is my Secret Power here.

The CBCA website provides these useful links to resources to help you celebrate Book Week.

Children’s Rights to Read

Reading may be a secret power, but it is also a superpower and a right of every child. Book Week is an appropriate time during which to reflect upon our classroom practices and consider how well they meet the International Literacy Association’s Children’s Rights to Read. (You can download and support the rights through this link.)

International Literacy Association Children's Rights to Read

Celebrating Book Week without Dressing Up
  • Read aloud to children. Although an excuse is never needed, Book Week provides the perfect opportunity to read, read, and read.
  • Provide time for children to read independently.
  • Encourage children to discuss books they enjoy.
  • Ask children to nominate their favourite book of all time (or of this minute) and to tell what they like about it.
  • Ask children to nominate a book character they would like to be and to explain why. Encourage them to write their own adventure as the character; for example, if I was …, I would
  • Ask children to nominate a book character that is like them in some way. They could fold a piece of A4 paper in half. On one side they draw themselves and on the other, the character. They write labels for similar and dissimilar physical characteristics and list similarities and dissimilarities in personality and attitudes.
girl reading
(c) Norah Colvin
  • Ask children to nominate book characters they would like to be friends, or not friends, with and explain why. Use their reasons to list and discuss characteristics of good friends.
  • Ask children to nominate books to fit categories; for example:
    • Books that make us laugh
    • Books that make us think
    • Books that help us learn
    • Books that make us feel sad
    • Books about animals (Children may suggest other categories.)
boy reading
(c) Norah Colvin
Discuss the importance of reading:
  • What can children do now that they can read that they couldn’t do before they could read?
  • What will they be able to do when they can read even more?
  • What would life be like if they couldn’t read?
Discuss secret powers and superpowers
  • Why would reading be someone’s secret power?
  • How would being able to read secretly help you?
  • What can you do that others don’t know you can do? What is your secret power?
  • What is the difference between a secret power and a superpower?
girl superhero
(c) Norah Colvin
Develop Reading into a Superpower

Read to children every day simply for the joy of literature. Encouraging a love of books, language and story is the most effective (and not secret) way of turning children onto reading. Yes, they need to be taught the skills, but never at the expense of meaningful and joyous reading.

While children beg for their favourite books to be read again and again, no child ever begs for another session of phonic drills.

However, children do need to be taught about print and how it works, or they will never crack the secret of the reading code. We can ensure that their journey into reading is meaningful and enjoyable though.

Boy superhero
(c) Norah Colvin
Some strategies:
  • Read aloud every day from a variety of reading material.
  • Encourage children to take an interest in words by introducing new vocabulary and language patterns through the enjoyment of books and stories.
  • Help them crack the code of the black squiggly lines with teaching strategies such as shared book, collaborative reading and writing activities, and covered cloze.
  • Model effective reading strategies and provide children with explicit information about how readers read.
  • Ensure that reading and writing is meaningful and encourages children to engage with it and make connections.

readilearn teaching resources focus on teaching literacy skills in context and across the curriculum. Check them out here.

readilearn literacy category
c) Norah Colvin
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    The rights to read should be shared world-wide! I like the theme this year, that reading is my superpower. I think reading transforms me as much as Superman in the telephone booth. Reading lets kids experience other lives and see their own reflected back to them in meaningful ways.

    I totally agree with you, Charli. Reading is indeed a superpower for many reasons. It is transformational. Let’s share the power. Like love, it doesn’t diminish but only increases when it is shared.

    I love that your country has all these children’s event and programs for education. And of course, it also has you, a most wonderful educator. Have a wonderful Book Week Norah. <3

    Thank you for your affirming and uplifting words, Debby. You’ve made my day. ❤ I agree with you about all the special days for children. It’s good to keep children, learning and reading at the forefront of our minds. They are our future, whether they are our children or not. If we teach them kindness, that’s what we should reap. 🙂

    Thanks so much for your kind support, Jim. I do hope teachers and parents find the ideas useful.

Please share your thoughts. I love it when you do.

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