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									                                           2011 PREMIER’S READING CHALLENGE
                                                                 16 May – 22 July
                                                       Information for school staff

The 2011 Tasmanian Premier's Reading Challenge (PRC) will be held between 16 May and 22
July. All schools and home educators with students from prep to grade 6 are encouraged
to participate.

This year the PRC is slightly earlier than in previous years and runs through the June
school holidays, giving children and their families the opportunity to choose book reading
as an activity during that time.

The PRC aims to:
• Promote a love of reading;
• Improve the reading skills of Tasmanian children; and
• Raise parent and community awareness about the importance of reading with children.

It’s not a competition, but a challenge to each child to read, to read more and to read
more widely, regardless of their current reading level.

Participating is easy:
• The program integrates simply with your existing classroom reading activities;
• The choice of reading materials is not restricted – students can read any fiction or non-
fiction books on any subject; and,
Any books read at school, at home or that are part of any other reading program,
including the MS Readathon can be included

The PRC is a proven strategy that helps primary aged students, their parents and the
community, recognise that literacy and reading are essential life skills. The format has been
closely modelled on well-established practices in other Australian states.

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How does the 2011 PRC differ from last year?
One of the main changes this year is in the timing of the Challenge. Term 2 is slightly
shorter than last year, so the Challenge has been brought forward. It now runs during parts
of Term 1 and 2 and includes the June school holidays. Certificates will be distributed
before the end of term 2.

Other changes include:

     •   To help encourage students to keep reading over the June holidays, a small reward is
         offered at the end of the break for those students who have read at least one book
         a week from the start of the Challenge.
     •   A “Special Achievement” e-certificate template is available in two designs for
         teachers to present to deserving students throughout the Challenge.
     •   All students completing the challenge will enter the draw to win one of 3 e-book
     •   Participating schools receive a special PRC certificate.

How to register your school in 3 easy steps
Registering for the PRC is free and can be completed in three easy steps:
1.   Nominate your PRC school co-ordinator - up to two school staff can be nominated to act as the
     main point of contact with the PRC team. The role of the PRC school co-ordinator is explained
     further below.
2.   Register your school online at by the Monday 23 May
     at the VERY LATEST. Registration is by class, not by individual student.
3.   All eligible schools will be posted a PRC School Starter Kit after the Easter break. Check that your
     school has received a complete kit. It should contain:
         o    Enough PRC reading logs for every student from prep to grade 6;
         o    Enough PRC bookmarks for every student from prep to grade 6;
         o    Posters for noticeboards in each classroom and the school library;
         o    Stickers for each classroom teacher to reward participating students (approximately 6
              stickers per student); and
         o    A special message for your school newsletter.

     *PRC wristbands will be provided as a reward to students at the Challenge half-way mark (after
     the June break). These will be sent to participating schools after registration.

Please ensure that each student from prep to grade 6 receives a copy of their own PRC reading log
and bookmark, and that class teachers receive the PRC posters and stickers. Schools are encouraged
to register all eligible classes (from prep to grade 6), however it is possible to register only some
eligible classes if preferred.

The PRC School Starter Kit also includes a message from the Premier for your school newsletter which
we encourage you to include in your next newsletter for parents. An electronic copy of this text is
available through the PRC school co-ordinator’s e-news and is also included at the end of this

The Challenge is free, but schools intending to participate must register by 23 May, even
if they were involved last year.

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What is the role of the PRC school co-ordinator?
The PRC school co-ordinator is the main point of contact between the PRC and your
school. In most cases, the PRC school co-ordinator is an AST, librarian or other staff
member responsible for the library, or the principal/ assistant principal. Whilst any school
staff member can be the PRC school co-ordinator, we have generally found that classroom
teachers are less able to co-ordinate the Challenge across all grades than staff with whole of
school responsibilities.

1. Before the Challenge starts: Registration

Registration is online via the PRC website (
When registering, you will be asked to provide:

    •   total school population;
    •   the approximate total number of students in each grade expected to participate;
    •   the name and email address of the PRC school co-ordinator/s;
    •   you do not need to provide student names or ages, or any other information.
    •   ensure all librarians and teachers from prep to grade 6 are aware of the Challenge
        and are familiar with the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs can be downloaded
        from the PRC website);
    •   ensure that teachers of participating classes receive a poster for their classroom and
        enough reading log stickers to reward students as they finish books along the way
        (note sticker numbers are approximate – how many you give out and how often is
        up to individual co-ordinators);

2. During the Challenge

PRC school co-ordinators are asked to:

    •   ensure that all eligible students receive a PRC reading log and that they have it
        signed by an adult after reading each book. Spare reading logs can be downloaded
        from the PRC website;
    •   promote the Challenge within the school, e.g. by putting up posters around the
        school in classrooms and libraries, look at options for associated book displays, etc;
    •   remind participating students about the mid-Challenge reward and encourage
        reading during the school holidays; and,
    •   place information in the school newsletter to inform parents about your school's
        involvement in the Challenge.

Each week you will receive a PRC school co-ordinator Challenge e-news from the PRC
Team. It will include news of the 6 book review winners, PRC reminders and other news.
Please ensure that this information is shared with your colleagues and students where

3. After the Challenge

PRC school co-ordinators are asked to:

    •   provide a list of all students who have completed the Challenge, organised by
        grade/class by Friday 29 July;
    •   make sure student names are correct and have no spelling errors (names will be
        printed on certificates as submitted);

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    •   organise presentation of the official PRC certificates to those students who have
        successfully completed the Challenge at either a school assembly or during class

There are NO mandatory booklists for the 2011 Premier's Reading Challenge. The PRC
counts any books that are age appropriate and considered suitable by a parent, teacher or
librarian. This includes fiction (novels, poetry, etc.) and non-fiction (biography, sport, science,
etc.). For guidance on selecting age appropriate books visit the State Library of Tasmania’s
catalogue and the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s awards list.

The reading of e-books is encouraged by all students. Formats such as large print, audio and
Braille are also acceptable for students who are vision or learning impaired. Books written in
a language other than English also count. Younger children may have books read to them,
participate in shared reading, or read part or all of a book independently. Students with
special needs can access assistive materials - including books in Braille, enlarged print, audio
books, assistance from reading buddies and teacher aides.

Reading Log
The PRC School Starter Kit includes enough copies of the PRC reading log for each eligible
student. Spare or replacement copies can be downloaded from the PRC website.

The reading logs should be handed out at the beginning of the Challenge. The reading log is
used to record each student's reading efforts and an adult (parent, guardian, teacher or
librarian) must sign it each time the student finishes reading a book and adds it to their log.
The reading log includes instructions for the student, as well as a table for them to record
the names of the books they have read for the Challenge. The table includes a column for
students to say whether they liked a book or not, and it also includes a column for inserting
PRC stickers to be handed out by teachers as student rewards (note: depending on the
number of your students who complete the Challenge, you may not receive enough stickers
to mark the completion of all ten books for each participating student).

At the end of the Challenge, students must return their completed reading log to their
teacher so that their names can be recorded and forwarded to the PRC team by Friday 29
July (this will ensure that they receive an official certificate and go into the e-book reader
prize draw).

Completed reading logs should be kept at the school as a record of participation
(they should not be forwarded to the PRC team).

Rewards & incentives
There are several recognition and reward opportunities offered throughout the program to
help encourage and motivate students during the Challenge and to recognise their
achievement on completion.

    •   PRC stickers will be provided to teachers for distribution to students as small
        incentives and rewards to be given out along the way and to help mark progress
        throughout the ten weeks of the Challenge. The stickers are designed to be used
        with the reading log.
    •   a $15 book voucher will be awarded to selected book reviews - six per week.

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    •     a “Special Achievement” e-certificate template is available in two designs for
          teachers to present to deserving students throughout the Challenge.
    •     each school will be provided with wristbands at the midway mark (in first week of
          Term 2) to help encourage students to stick with the Challenge.
    •     all students who complete the Challenge have the chance to win an e-book reader
          (one in each region).
    •     all students who complete the Challenge by reading ten books in the ten weeks
          between 16 May and 22 July will receive an official certificate signed by the Premier.
    •     at the end of the Challenge, three participating schools (one from each region) will
          receive a $500 book voucher for their school library.
    •     at the end of the Challenge, a ceremony will be hosted by the Premier and held in
          Parliament House, Hobart. One school from each region will be invited, with
          selection based on participation and completion rates. Each school will select six
          students to attend the event and school principals and parents will also be invited.

What about students who want to be involved but are
Whilst the Challenge is only officially open to students from prep to grade 6, some schools
have indicated a desire to open it up to other grades. In this case, the school is responsible
for organising its own incentives and rewards for these students.

To assist with this, schools are provided with an optional template for a "special
encouragement certificate" to be printed and presented by the school to students who were
ineligible to register but still completed the Challenge (e.g. kindergarten and grade 7
students). The template is available through the PRC school co-ordinators online forum.

Key dates for the 2011 Premier's Reading Challenge

End April               PRC Starter Kits sent to all schools
2 May                   Registration opens
16 May                  Premier’s Reading Challenge starts
23 May                  PRC registration closes
July                    MS Readathon
3 June                  Term 1 ends
20 June                 Term 2 starts – halfway mark
22 July                 Premier's Reading Challenge ends
                        Final deadline for submission of names of students who have
29 July
                        completed the Challenge
August                  Certificates sent and presentations held
August                  e-book reader winners announced
2 September             Term 2 ends

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You can visit this site at any time to download and print copies of the reading log, poster
and the Challenge Rules. This site is the best source of information on the Challenge -
please use it to find out about frequently asked questions and for other useful information
and links.

Students can also visit the website to submit their book reviews. The reviews will make
great starting points for classroom discussion.

Where can I find out more?
General information on the 2011 PRC can be found at

If you have any specific questions, please email the PRC Team at

For discussion and comment, visit the PRC school co-ordinator's forum. All PRC school co-
ordinators will be automatically registered to this forum. For more information please email

Co-ordinating the PRC in your school – additional information
Complementing other reading programs
The program is intended to complement other reading programs, such as guided/levelled
reading programs and the MS Readathon. The rules of the program are designed to be
flexible enough to balance both the integrity of the Challenge and individual student needs so
that all students can participate in the program, be challenged and succeed.

It is up to individual teaching staff to determine the extent to which the program is
implemented within the classroom or used as an adjunct to it. In the previous three years,
we found that:

    •   some schools used the book review function as a classroom activity, in which
        students submitted book reviews of the books they were reading during class.

    •   most schools used the program to complement weekly school library visits and the
        reading of library books at home. The Challenge helped parents become more
        involved in their child’s reading and encouraged students to read outside of school.

    •   in some schools, the Challenge was completed wholly within classroom activities so
        that all children, particularly young ones, gained a sense of being successful readers.
        This involved discussions about books they were reading and the characters and

    •   in most schools, the program was run as an adjunct to guided reading programs.
        Schools can choose the extent to which they encourage and implement the
        Challenge, depending on their in-school reading programs. Several schools used the
        Challenge to encourage students to focus on their guided readers.

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The overall aim is to encourage students to read more than they otherwise would, and
extend their reading beyond the usual classroom activities. The extent to which the
Challenge overlaps ongoing classroom activities is a decision that must be made by teachers,
school librarians and other school staff working directly with students and their families.

Providing a challenge appropriate to individual abilities
Classroom teacher and PRC school co-ordinator discretion helps ensure the program
provides an appropriate challenge for individual students.

    •   for some children the program may provide encouragement to participate in existing
        in-school reading programs, and for others the program can help the student move
        beyond levelled or guided readers to “real” books.

    •   children for whom a book a week is not a challenge are encouraged to widen or
        extend their reading beyond their current abilities or interests. For example, a young
        keen reader who chooses to read only fantasy novels could be encouraged to
        include some non-fantasy books.

    •   children with significant reading or physical issues should be provided with a
        challenge that is meaningful and achievable for them and can be completed by, e.g.
        “reading” assisted computer books, listening to audio books, or by having books
        read to them. Braille books, books with larger text, audio books or texts accessed
        through alternative means are all acceptable for students who would otherwise not
        be able to complete the Challenge.

    •   find an alternative that fits the student’s needs while still providing an appropriate
        challenge and the chance to improve their literacy skills, e.g. ESL students who have
        trouble reading the books might listen to an audio version while reading the book.

Ideas for implementing the Challenge within the school
Schools are encouraged to develop in-school measures to enhance the program, better link
it with other reading related activities and to use the program to encourage reading. Here
are a few ideas based on the experience of some Tasmanian schools previous years and from
experiences in other states.

    •   get parents involved and committed, especially for younger grades. Schools reported
        that often it was only students who were keen readers or had parents who strongly
        promoted reading who succeeded in the Challenge if it was not completed primarily
        within school time.

    •   introduce some of the books in class lessons and units of work so students can
        experience success.

    •   completing the Challenge entirely within school time is a wasted opportunity to
        encourage reading outside school time for most students.

    •   make a list or display of possible books for reluctant readers (e.g. hot reads for cool
        readers) and include less demanding popular books focusing particularly on factual
        texts, humour, sports, etc.

    •   consider some in-school prizes for completion or good effort, including in-school
        certificates, small prizes of stationary or stickers, etc. Alternatively give “lucky dip”
        prizes for each class each week by getting class teachers to pull a reading log out of a

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    •   ask students to present a book they have read for the Challenge to the class.

    •   make a display of class or school “great reads”.

    •   create some quizzes or fun activities about books read for the Challenge.

Maintaining enthusiasm

    •   encourage and celebrate goals reached along the way.

    •   consider a graph paper display in the classroom where students can colour in or
        somehow indicate they have reached a goal/read a book.

    •   ask students to review their favourite book and publish a selection in your school

    •   ask students to submit a book review to the Premier’s Reading Challenge website.

    •   some creative in-school rewards and recognitions suggested in other Challenges

        o   a class trip, experience, or recognition for the class with the highest proportion
            of students who have completed the Challenge.

        o   a school house challenge, with an award for the school house that has the
            highest completion rate.

        o   weekly or periodic recognition for the class/school house/group that has read
            the most books in that week/period e.g. twenty minutes extra play time.

Challenging students who can easily read a book a week
If a student is unlikely to be challenged by reading one book a week, help them to set a
personal challenge:

    •   students can choose to read more than a book a week and teachers could provide
        some reward or recognition for larger numbers of books read.

    •   students can be challenged to read books outside their comfort zone, e.g. on topics
        or in styles they would not normally choose. Students could also be challenged to
        read longer books.

    •   students can be challenged to find and read books on a certain topic, e.g. Australian
        history, outer space, etc.

Involving parents
The Challenge can provide parents with a clear focus for supporting their child’s reading
activities during Terms 1and 2 as well as over the June school holidays. In the past three
years the Challenge was more popular in most schools for students in grades 1 to 3 and in
most schools parental involvement and support was a strong indicator of student success in
the Challenge. In a school with lower parental involvement students in grades 3 and 4 were
most likely to succeed – i.e. newly independent readers. Many parents have reported that

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the Challenge encouraged their child to start reading beyond guided readers, or to read
books themselves that had been read to them previously.

Parental involvement can be encouraged by including information in your school newsletter,
by providing parents with support, and by providing books for the student to take home and
read for the Challenge. Schools can provide excellent support for parents to help their child
complete the Challenge in these ways:

    •   regularly include information about the Challenge and student success in your school
        newsletter, e.g. consider publishing some sample student book reviews and/or the
        names of students who have completed the Challenge as they do so.

    •   have a school Challenge launch.

    •   encourage parents to visit local libraries with their child to pick books for the

More tips for teachers
The NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge website has a very useful section called “Tips and
Teaching Notes”. The information has been compiled from teacher comments and
experience of the NSW PRC over a number of years.

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Sample school newsletter text

The following text is provided for inclusion in your school’s next newsletter:

            Premier’s Reading Challenge

            Welcome to the new-look 2011 Premier’s Reading Challenge. The
            Challenge seeks to inspire young people to love reading and to raise
            awareness about the importance of literacy and reading skills
            amongst families and the community.

            You can play a big role in your child’s reading development by:

            •   Encouraging reading at home and school
            •   Talking about books with your child
            •   Making reading a family affair

            You can support your school by helping out with the coordination
            of the Challenge or volunteering to listen to students read.

            Your past support has made sure that previous Challenges have
            been very successful. As this is my first Challenge and I would love
            to see all Tasmanian children from prep to grade 6 participating in
            this wonderful Tasmania-wide reading event.

            In 2011, the Premier’s Reading Challenge will run from 16 May to 22
            July and I’m challenging students from prep to grade 6 to read ten
            books in those ten weeks. Children will be able to continue reading
            for the Challenge over the June school holidays – you could even
            visit your local library as an activity.

            Every student who completes the challenge will go into the draw to
            win an e-book reader (there are three to be won) and will receive
            a special 2011 Premier’s Reading Challenge certificate.

            Reading with your child can be lots of fun and the Challenge
            provides the opportunity for you to explore books and reading

            Lara Giddings MP

            To find out more about the Premier’s Reading Challenge visit:

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