AS the school year comes to an end and students count down the days before the summer holidays start, any thoughts of reading usually fall by the wayside.
Fresh from hosting the Celebrate Reading National Conference, which included visits from children’s authors such as Isobelle Carmody, Sally Murphy and James Foley, Fremantle-based The Literature Centre says keeping children interested in reading all year round, especially when they were not being asked to do so through school, was important for their education and also for their imagination.
The Literature Centre director Lesley Reece said the conference provided a great chance for teachers and librarians to learn straight from the authors about how important literature was for young children, but it was important for parents to continue to foster a love of reading at home.
“Given the decline in the number of teacher librarians in all schools in our state, the centre is playing a vital role in promoting quality literature which our children so richly deserve,” she said.
“We must all remember that incredible joy of curling up with a great book and wanting no one to disturb us.
“We must also acknowledge the importance of reading allowed to young children, whether they are on our lap, curled up in bed with us, sitting on a beach or under a tree.”
Ms Reece said curling up with a good book gave children a chance to escape into a world of their own and away from the lure of TV and computers, and there were many ways to make it more enjoyable.
“I would fill the kitchen table with paper, pencils, paints and glue and suggest children create their own book,” she said.
“If they are stuck for an idea, get them to create a story based on their favourite character or pet.
“Or they could create a reading cubby under a kitchen table or under a tree in the backyard to be their own special place.”
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The Literature Centre’s must read list for kids
-The Children Who Loved Books-Peter Carnavas
-The Last Viking Returns-Norman Jorgensen and James Foley
-What Do You Wish For-Jane Godwin and Anna Walker
-Adventures of the Magic Carwash-Rosie Smith and Bruce Whatley
-Little Fur series-Isobelle Carmody
-Horse Crazy-Alison Lester
-Painted Love Letters-Catherine Bateson