Welcome to the Birds of a Feather Reading Challenge! Beginning Dec 12
Welcome to our Birds of a Feather Reading Challenge!
Hi, Kia ora, Tālofa lava, Kia Orana, Bula, Malo e lelei, Fakalofa Atu, Mālo ni, Tālofa, Mauri, nǐ hǎo!
Haere mai, welcome whānau!
We’re happy you’re here and excited to offer up this fun competition to support your child’s reading this summer.
All tamariki aged five and up are welcome to join in.
The Birds of a Feather Reading Challenge will run from Monday December 12 – Friday, January 13.
Whether it’s a bedtime story or visiting the library, you and your whānau can relax and have fun enjoying books together. Use our reading challenge to make it even more fun, track your summer reading and win prizes! It's completely free to take part:
- Just visit www.reading-challenge.org.nz and sign up. We ask for your name, age, email address and school. Please note - there is no way to sign up multiple children for one email address. We're sorry about this inconvenience and will work on it for next time!
- Use the drop-down menu to choose a team to join - there are four bird team options for each age group.
- Every time you read a book or visit a library, choose an activity from the drop-down menu and log that book’s title and author. You can upload a photo of the book you’ve read if you like, but you don’t have to.
- You can also leave a comment about the book or activity, but you don't have to.
- Be in to win book prizes by sharing your photos and messages with us. Check out the prize page for more details.
- We also have a paper version this year if you’d like to stay offline! Click here to download and print it. Why not print one out for a friend and do the challenge together? Or stick it to the fridge and complete the whole thing as a whānau?
That’s it! If you have any questions please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for joining us. We can’t wait to see you over at the Birds of a Feather Reading Challenge.
How to log a book and other tips
Sign up for our weekly email reminders
Free online storytime sessions and other resources
Why is reading for fun important?
This year, there are seven ways to win prizes. Only one of them is about reading a large volume of books. You can also win prizes by sending us pictures of your favourite book or your summer reading spot to go in the draw to win packs of exciting new books!
We will send a big bundle of bilingual books to the school with the most children taking part in our challenge.
We’re also giving away lucky dip books as spot prizes throughout the competition to both the online players and those who send their completed paper-based challenge to us.
Thanks to our friends at Forest & Bird's Kiwi Conservation Club, we have five memberships to give away to readers who send us a picture of themselves reading outdoors.
For over 30 years, Forest & Bird’s Kiwi Conservation Club | Hakuturi Toa (KCC) has been connecting Kiwi kids to New Zealand’s amazing wildlife and wild places. KCC now has over 5,000 members throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.
Our friends at KCC are offering five memberships as a prize in our reading challenge this summer. KCC members are invited to join exciting programmes and competitions and they receive Wild Things, a special magazine, four times a year.
A membership also gives you the opportunity to go on KCC Adventures anywhere in the country. In most places around New Zealand, volunteer coordinators (KCOs) arrange outings/meet-ups for members to explore their local beaches, forests and everywhere in between. Some clubs also get involved in local conservation projects like tree planting, creating lizard gardens or making nesting boxes for little blue penguins.
Learn more about the Kiwi Conservation Club on their website or follow them on Facebook.
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 children 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.
How can we support and encourage our children to read more? 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.
Our director Juliet writes a bit more about that here.
The joy of re-reading
Re-reading can be wonderful for people of all ages. But for children, it provides important benefits:
- Reading a familiar book repeatedly can build fluency through practice. Newly independent readers need lots of practice to get past the word by word choppy reading into fluent reading.
- Sometimes children find it hard to find a new book they want to read. Re-reading a favourite is a great way to 'fill the gap'' until a new book comes along.
- Re-reading the same book (or books within the same series) can help build stronger bonds between the reader and the characters and setting - it's like reconnecting with a friend and brings comfort and happiness.
- Most importantly, re-reading a favourite book reminds children they enjoy reading, and they love the secure world created inside that book. This is a great article by Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney on the subject.
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.
The UK's National Literacy Trust has some great resources. Have a look at this page: Ways to keep your child's reading up while schools are closed.
More resources and links
Children's reading lists compiled by the National Library
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.