Read, read, read!

Our school has been invited to participate in the 30th annual MS Readathon for the month of June. Mrs Janice Frape (a veteran of fifteen visits to our school!) talked at an assembly today about the medical condition known as Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Students are encouraged to find sponsors and raise money to aid in researching MS. There are reading rewards and certificates for successful students. Those already reading for the Premier’s Reading Challenge can count any books read during this month as MS Readathon books.

Information on how students can register to be involved in this fundraising activity is available online at:

As usual, our students made us proud; we have trained them to be an excellent audience, and we always receive lots of warm fuzzies from guest speakers who find that they get a good hearing for their efforts.

Coincidentally, a teacher-librarian colleague, new to the position, happened to mention today that they’d had an odd encounter with a teacher at their school. The teacher felt the T-L was not doing their job by insisting that three students read “a more appropriate book”, ie. one where each word could be understood by the students. The books in question were titles in the excellent “Zac Powers” series, by H I Larry.

I said, “Most teachers and teacher-librarians I know use and promote three levels of reading with students:

* Instructional level (at the student’s reading age, aiming to nudge him or her over into the next highest level)

* Practice level (where the student is expected to read fluently and independently to practise and consolidate skills already learned)

* Recreational reading (totally free choice, made by student, in their current realm of interests).

As teacher-librarians we could easily be bouncing across all three levels with our students, depending on the task at hand, and the outcomes needing to be achieved. But it sounded to me like these students were using “Zac Powers” for recreational reading. And good on them! “Zac Powers” titles have labelled diagrams and humorous captions for a very good reason: because the author knows that many of his fans can’t read all of the main narrative text. Yet.

Or would that teacher insist that poor readers in Year 6 only ever read “Hop on Pop” and never be allowed to look inside a “Guinness Book of World Records”?