Children across Australia and, for the first time, New Zealand will be listening intently to find out what is troubling the mouse that ran up that clock when Hickory, Dickory, Dash is read at 11am on Wednesday, May 23.
It’s National Simultaneous Storytime again, where youngsters experience the joys of being read to and parents see the bonds that can be formed over a love of reading.
Some luminaries such as Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel, education and training minister Simon Birmingham, Northern Queensland Cowboys legend Matthew Bowen and fitness guru Michelle Bridges will all be reading Hickory, Dickory, Dash at libraries around the country. Tenterfield Library boasts its own superstar storyteller in library assistant Skye Stapleton, who will again be captaining National Simultaneous Storytime for Tenterfield.
This will be Skye’s fourth year on duty, and she said it’s a lot of fun. She’s happy with the selection of Hickory, Dickory, Dash as many children will already be familiar with the traditional nursery rhyme and will be tickled by the twist.
Author Tony Wilson’s earlier book The Cow Tripped over the Moon was picked for last year’s Simultaneous Storytime, giving him two in a row.
Each year Skye also chooses another title from the local shelves to read to the children. She’s yet to make her 2018 selection but she tries to choose something compatible with the earlier read, and one the kids may not have come across before.
She said National Simultaneous Storytime is one tool in an arsenal of programs to encourage a love of reading, including promoting the ‘10 minutes a day, an hour a week’ to parents to foster a habit of reading to their young children.
Independent young readers were also encouraged by the library’s Summer Reading Club which was trialled last Christmas holidays with success, and will probably return at the end of this year. Skye said more than 30 children signed up for the club, receiving tickets in prize draws for completing reading logs.
With the advent of e-books and other competition for children’s time and attention, Skye said the appeal of choosing a book off the library shelf and taking it home to read still appealed to many kids, especially the younger ones who enjoy the tactile nature of turning the pages.
She said library staff are also happy to guide young readers in their book selection, and also to help out parents to choose books that will appeal.
On Wednesday, however, children and parents alike can sit back and let Skye do all the reading. Everyone’s invited to join the gang from Tenterfield Child Care Centre to settle in at the library by 11am to find out what that mouse go up to.