This year children around Australia will be reading Josh Pyke’s book Family Tree
National Simultaneous Storytime is an annual campaign by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) that encourages young children to read and enjoy books. Every year, a picture book – written and illustrated by an Australian author – is read simultaneously in libraries, schools, homes and children’s facilities all over the country.
This year, ALIA picked the book called Family Tree, written by singer-songwriter Josh Pyke and illustrated by Ronojoy Ghosh. Family Tree tells a story of a multigenerational family as seen through the eyes of an unusual narrator – a growing seed.
At 11 am on Wednesday 25th May, UOW Children’s Technology Play Space, located at the University of Wollongong’s (UOW) Early Start Discovery Space, will host a live reading of the book, joining almost two million readers around Australia. Professor Lisa Kervin and Associate Professor Jessica Mantei, literacy experts from the School of Education, will facilitate the storytime.
Children and their families will be invited into the UOW Children’s Technology Play Space for a traditional read-along of the book. At the same time, in line with the space’s technological capabilities, everyone will also connect digitally with Early Start Engagement Centres located in regional, rural and remote parts of NSW. Children will listen to the story and participate in multiple story-related activities, both online and offline.
“National Simultaneous Storytime is a great opportunity for connection. There is something truly amazing about knowing that all over our country, at the same time, people are coming together to share a story,” said Professor Lisa Kervin, the Research Director at UOW’s Early Start and Chief Investigator at UOW’s Node for the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child.
“During the event, we will be reading a great piece of Australian children’s literature, and then we’ll take some time to play with key ideas in the story. The kids will do yoga poses, and we’ll compare trees that grow in our UOW local environment to those native to other areas of NSW. Taking time to share a story and relate it back to ourselves and our world is so important for children’s development,” Professor Kervin said.
UOW Children’s Technology Play Space, alongside Early Start’s much loved Discovery Space, has been designed to provide children and their families access to cutting-edge research around how digital technologies can be used – in a safe and fun way – with young children and their adults. The space serves as a living laboratory for the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child and hosts a number of research projects for the Centre, focusing on the educated child, the healthy child and the connected child.