Now in its 19th year, National Simultaneous Storytime is held annually by the Australian Library and Information Association.
What exactly is it you ask? Well, it is a national campaign held each year for the last nineteen to encourage more children and young people to read books!
Across the nation, and at the same time, on the same day, a book is simultaneously read in libraries, schools, pre-schools, childcare centres, family homes, bookshops and many other places around the country. Every year a picture book, written and illustrated by an Australian author and illustrator is chosen to be read, and this year it is: “Alpacas with Maracas” by Matt Cosgrove.
The event has proven to be a colourful, vibrant, and fun that one that’s purpose is to promote the value of reading and literacy, using an Australian children’s book that explores age-appropriate themes, and addresses key learning areas of the National Curriculum for Foundation to Year 6.
The aim of the event is to:
- promote the value of reading and literacy;
- promote the value and fun of books;
- promote an Australian writer and publisher;
- promote storytime activities in public libraries and communities around the country;
- provide opportunities to involve parents, grandparents, the media and others to participate in and enjoy the occasion.
Research has shown that children who have one book read to them each day from birth to Year 6 will have greater success in all areas of learning. There are clear cognitive benefits, for example, brain scans show that hearing stories strengthens the part of the brain associated with visual imagery, story comprehension, and word meaning. One study found that kindergarten children who were read to at least three times a week had a “significantly greater phonemic awareness than did children who were read to less often.”
But reading also strengthens children’s social, emotional, and character development. According to a recently published study, reading to very young children is linked to decreased levels of aggression, hyperactivity, and attention difficulties. The study’s lead author shared this insight with The New York Times, “When parents read with their children more . . . they learn to use words to describe feelings that are otherwise difficult and this enables them to better control their behaviour when they have challenging feelings like anger or sadness.”
And not just for parents – Educators have such a crucial role in reading to children – and this should be part of your daily routine. If it isn’t already – begin tomorrow to make it a part – if your centre has a lack of resources or you feel you have read every book in the centre, join the local library and borrow a few different ones each week. Use show and share opportunities with the children to bring in their favourite book from home to read aloud, or even start a book exchange with all the families at the front of your centre – so that families can have access to all different books on a weekly basis.
In 2018, over 1,062,230 participants in over 8,255 locations took part in National Simultaneous Storytime, the organisers I’m sure are hoping for increased numbers again in 2019.
Check out the website below to register your class and centre for the event –