Reading Picnic 2012

Picnic - PRC poster


Today was Penrith Public School’s annual reading picnic, this time celebrating our 97% success rate in the Premier’s Reading Challenge (PRC) in this, the National Year of Reading. It was also the second anniversary of our occupation of our BER school library. How the time has flown!

Picnic - Christmas tree in the library

Picnic 4

Our special guest was Judith Ridge, of WestWords. Judith is a recognised expert in the field of children’s literature, a former editor of the School Magazine and a member of the PRC selection and reviewing panel.

Picnic - Judith Ridge
Our Guest of Honour, Judith Ridge of WestWords.

Parents, caregivers, toddlers and community members brought with them books, picnic rugs and snacks and joined the 400+ students and teachers for a relaxed afternoon of reading in cosy corners of the playground. Some students sat in class groups, and others sat with family and friends. And Mother Nature turned on some perfect picnic weather after several days of looming thunderclouds.

The school also received a special package from author and illustrator Emma Quay! A beautiful giclée print (Mr McLean had to look up that term on Wikipedia!) and a lovely handwritten letter, explaining that this artwork is a preview of her forthcoming picture book, Not a cloud in the sky (2013).

Picnic - Emma Quay's print
Emma Quay’s letter and giclée print!

Picnic - Judith Ridge with captains
Our school captains present Judith with a school crest keyring.

Judith Ridge, who was very complimentary of our students’ work with digital storywriting, book rapping and our school’s blog and wiki, shared a quote from E.B. White, author of Charlotte’s web and Stuart Little:

“A library is a good place to go when you feel unhappy, for there, in a book, you may find encouragement and comfort. A library is a good place to go when you feel bewildered or undecided, for there, in a book, you may have your question answered. Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people — people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book.”

Picnic Plaque
A commemorative plaque has now been mounted on the wall of the school library.

Picnic 6

Picnic 7

Picnic 3

Picnic 1

Picnic 2

Picnic 5

Writing tips from Deb Abela

This week is the last week of formal lessons in the school library. The Stage 2 and Stage 3 students are investigating the websites of Judith Ridge (WestWords, particularly the “Book Club” section), and the writing tips of popular author, Deborah Abela.

At a recent teacher-librarians’ professional learning day, Deb introduced us to the highly motivating Story Starter Scrambler machine, on the Scholastic website.

Deb’s very persuasive Youtube book trailers are at:


The remarkable secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen

Ghost Club

To finish off we will read Chapter 1 of Deb’s novel, Max Remy, super spy.

Feral and introduced animals in national parks

Building upon last week’s exploration of feral cat eradication on Tasman Island, here is a Youtube video clip on Tierra del Fuego National Park in Argentina, which has a problem with introduced beavers, originally brought in to create a fur industry in 1946. Ushuaia is claimed to be the southernmost city in the world and now an important tourist center: the departure point for voyages to Antarctica.

Beagle Channel and Ushuaia National Park

Selby licks a lollipop: a Candyland adventure

The book rappers of 2RM came up with a delightfully imaginative digital story concerning the featured character of Duncan Ball’s “Selby” books: Selby the talking dog.

Selby licks a lollipop: a Candyland adventure

Comments from viewers around the world came in thick and fast, including one from Duncan Ball himself!

Duncan Ball
Ian McLean with children’s author Duncan Ball at the 2007 NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge ceremony, Taronga Park Zoo, Sydney.

Pupils make most of web in storytelling adventure

Stage 1 students create digital stories

Stage 1 students are media stars again! The full article by Jessica Aquilina is HERE, courtesy of today’s Penrith City Star newspaper. Above photo courtesy of Gary Warrick, Penrith City Star.

Our digital stories are here:

Champions read!

Superheroes are champion readers!

How the whale got a hole in his head

Selby licks a lollipop: a Candyland adventure

Lovely library limericks

The elephant’s child

The three little pigs