Hunter libraries promote love of literacy at National Simultaneous Storytime

Joy: About 70 children and adults attended National Simultaneous Storytime at Newcastle City Library. Picture: Max Mason Hubers
Joy: About 70 children and adults attended National Simultaneous Storytime at Newcastle City Library. Picture: Max Mason Hubers

HUNTER children were encouraged to forget everything they thought they knew about libraries and unleash their best animal sounds at National Simultaneous Storytime.

Newcastle City Council Early Literacy Specialist Mala Scorse said around 450 children aged from three to seven and adults attended the event across the council’s Newcastle, Adamstown, New Lambton, Mayfield and Wallsend libraries.

“One of the first things I asked the kids was ‘What do we do at a library?’” Ms Scorse said.

“I expected them to say ‘We borrow lots of books’ but they said ‘We be very quiet’. I told them ‘No, we be really noisy and have lots of fun!’ Libraries are really community spaces.”

The council runs 18 different weekly programs across its eight branches, but National Simultaneous Storytime is one of the its biggest events of the year.

The Australian Library and Information Association initiative involves the reading of a homegrown picture book in libraries, schools, pre-schools, childcare centres, family homes, bookshops and other places to promote the value of reading and literacy.

This year’s book was Tony Wilson’s Hickory Dickory Dash.

“All the children were spellbound, it was a very active reading and very noisy with lots of sound effects,” she said.

“It shows them reading is more than just sitting quietly in a corner, it can be fun, theatrical, engaging, incorporate play and animation and be something to enjoy together.”

Ms Scorse said a child who was read a short book every day from birth would have consumed almost 2000 titles before kindergarten.

“Reading is one of the best things we can do to give kids a head start.”