Kia ora and welcome to the Super Smash Reading Challenge!
This interactive website is a brand new partnership between Read NZ Te Pou Muramura (formerly the NZ Book Council) and New Zealand Cricket.
Primary and intermediate-aged children are invited to register for free and choose their local cricket team to ‘play’ for.
Players log the books they read over the summer, along with a star rating and short review. A leader board keeps track of the Super Smash teams as they move up and down the rankings accordingly.
Please note: the intention of this challenge is to get children reading regularly throughout the summer, rather than list all the books they have ever read. Please encourage your child to log books one by one, as they read them.
Nov 1 update: Due to some players logging a large number of books in one day, we have amended the competition to make it fairer for everyone. From now on, only 2 logged books per day will be made ''live'' on the website.
Launching in late October, the Super Smash Reading Challenge will run until the final T20 cricket game on 19 January.
Paper Plus gift cards are up for grabs every day of the Super Smash cricket tournament. There are lots of other spot prizes on offer, including books and signed sports gear from NZ Cricket, along with double passes to games.
Recent research shows primary-aged students can lose more than six months’ worth of academic progress over the summer break but reading is a great way to keep young minds active.
We hope the reading challenge is a fun new way to address the well-documented ‘summer slide’ in learning over the holidays. Thank you for supporting your child to take part in the Super Smash Reading Challenge! Click here to log in, or read on for some tips to get everyone reading.
Why is reading important for children?
Reading is an essential life skill.
Books contain new words that will help build your child's language and understanding. When students read for pleasure they are likely to read more frequently and gain all the benefits of enhancing their literacy skills, learning outcomes, empathy, social skills and wellbeing.
Our friends at National Library's Services to Schools have a range of excellent blog posts about the importance of reading: click here to browse them.
Reading with children is fun. It's a time for closeness, laughing and talking. It can also give children a flying start in life and help them become lifelong readers.
Joy Cowley’s 2018 lecture, The Power of Story is available here to listen to, or download for free as an e-book.
Why does reading over summer matter?
New Zealand and international research into students’ learning progress over the long summer break has shown the loss can be significant.
Children and teens who don’t read much over the long summer holidays can lose gains they've made in their reading levels and fluency over the year. This is true for all children, but especially for children who are already struggling readers.
Read more about the summer slide on the National Library blog, in a Stuff article, a piece from Reading Rockets, and in an interview with academic Rachel Williamson on our blog.
How can we support and encourage our child to read?
One of the best things you can do to encourage your child to read more is to read more yourself. Let children see that reading is something you love to do. Talk to them about the books you like and visit the library together.
This page of tips and ideas, including some for reluctant readers, from the UK's Book Trust is an excellent place to start.
This page from NZ's Ministry of Education has a wealth of ideas and tips for supporting children of different ages.
Auckland librarian and children's book expert Crissi Blair shares her best advice about reading with children. We loved this gem from Crissi:
The best advice is to have lots of books in the home and read to your kids at every opportunity. You can read to the tiniest of babies and they will respond, and learn to love the experience of being close to you and enjoying books together. Owning books is terrific, and children will quickly express their love for particular books over others. But ownership isn’t everything; you can sign your child up for a library card as a baby and borrow a stack of books every week or two.
Click here for tips and advice from Australian children's book writer and literacy teacher Mem Fox.
Where can we find books to read?
There are plenty of places to find books to read, depending on your location. At Read NZ, we love our public libraries and we would suggest you visit your nearest one as a good starting place. Librarians are trained to help you find something you or your child will enjoy reading. Click here to find your closest library and learn more about what they offer.
We're also grateful to New Zealand bookshops for their support of the Super Smash Reading Challenge, in particular the Paper Plus group, who have donated prizes of books and book vouchers. Books make wonderful Christmas or birthday presents for children.
Many second-hand shops have shelves packed with books that can be purchased very cheaply. You could also swap books with friends and family members.
Here are some more resources and links:
There is a treasure trove of information just waiting for you at The Sapling: Conversations about children's books, including this collection of book lists featuring everything from books about allergies to coding, bestsellers to grief, pacifism to family life.
We ask award-winning NZ authors, ''What children's book changed you?" Click here to see the series.
An excellent reminder: The Rights of the Reader, by Daniel Pennac and illustrated by Quentin Blake. Click here to download the poster.
Browse our blog for a collection of interviews with writers about their favourite books.