In less than a week, we will be celebrating the 20th National Simultaneous Storytime. Are you ready?
National Simultaneous Storytime is an annual event held in Library and Information Week, the last week of May, in Australia and New Zealand. The event is organised by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) with the aim of promoting the value of reading and literacy.
Each year an Australian picture book is chosen to be read simultaneously in libraries, schools, pre-schools, childcare centres, family homes, bookshops and many other places around the nations on either side of the Tasman Sea. Selected books explore age-appropriate themes and address key learning areas of the National Curriculum for Foundation to Year 6.
This year the book is Whitney and Britney Chicken Divas, written and illustrated by Lucinda Gifford.
This book is fun and exciting and will appeal to the adults reading it as much as to the little ones listening to it. While the children may not yet be aware of the original Whitney and Britney divas, their parents and teachers will be.
When I first began reading the book, I was reminded of the Grimm’s fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses. However, the ending is different and modernised and perhaps more enjoyable for the readers as well as the characters.
Whitney and Britney are gorgeous chooks who live with the elegant Dora von Dooze. While she appreciates their eggs, she’d also enjoy their company. Alas, they sleep throughout the day, which makes Dora a little curious.
Dora determines to discover what they get up to each night while she is asleep; and discover she does. But how does she react and what happens when she finds out? You will have to read the book to find out what surprises await Dora as well as Whitney and Britney.
Why not join in with the reading on National Simultaneous Storytime on Wednesday 27 May at 11.00 am AEST. You can purchase the book and merchandise and register to join in the celebration by visiting the ALIA website.
Many wonderful teaching resources to support your participation are already available on the website. Registration will give you access to even more, including a PDF version of the book to use during the event.
You can tune in to the Storybox Library at 11.00 am on the 27th to watch Emma Watkins from the Wiggles read it. There will even be a guest appearance by author and illustrator Lucinda Gifford. Registration will also give you free access to the Storybox Library, a collection of over 300 books and activities, for the week.
There are so many good reasons to register, why not do it now.
Although there are many wonderful teaching ideas and resources available to you on the ALIA website, I’ve added a few of my own suggestions here. I don’t think I’ve doubled up on any.
Compare and Contrast
Whitney and Britney Chicken Divas with The Twelve Dancing Princesses.
What is similar about the stories?
How are they different?
Which end do you prefer?
Can you think of another way the story could end?
Discuss the relationship of chickens and foxes
Whitney and Britney are chickens. Dora van Dooze is a fox. What is their relationship?
List other stories that you know about chickens and foxes. What is their relationship?
What is the relationship in ‘real life’?
In the story, the chickens are awake at night and the fox is awake during the day. What times do they usually wake and sleep?
Other stories about chickens and foxes
Chicken Licken — a European folk tale
Hattie and the Fox by Mem Fox
Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins
Fox and Fine Feathers by Narelle Oliver
Ask children to list their favourite songs or performers and display on a graph.
There are many delightful new words and rhymes that children may add to their vocabularies, but I think those ideas are quite well covered already.
I do hope you join in with National Simultaneous Storytime and this fun book. There is no shortage of ways to bring it to life.
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