This term, students in the Preparatory School received their Premier’s Reading Challenge (PRC) certificate or medal. Students participate in the Challenge each year and awards are presented according to the number of years completed. The Challenge, initiated by the Premier ten years ago, is for children to read at least eight books taken from the PRC list and another four books of their choice. Children are also able to have books read to them as listening, and responding to stories is just as valuable. 

As a reward for Westminster’s outstanding achievement in the Challenge since it began, I received an invitation to a PRC Reception held at the Adelaide Zoo. Prep School Service Leader Jaidyn and, prolific reader and member of book club, Matthew, accompanied me to this special event. 

We arrived at the zoo and waited outside with students and teacher representatives from other schools. Local author Phil Cummings approached us and chatted, revealing one of the surprise guests (Humphrey B. Bear) that we would see at the Reception. There were other special guests also; South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill, Minister for Education Jennifer Rankine, and some of the PRC ambassadors, including local author Janeen Brian, news presenters Rebecca Morse, Kate Collins and Kym Dillon, and past Westminster teacher and Adelaide Thunderbirds Coach Jane Woodlands-Thompson.

Jaidyn and Matthew, like all of the other students for their schools, were presented with a congratulatory certificate for Westminster School and a selection of books to add to our collection. Other highlights included Phil Cummings, with the help of Humphrey B. Bear, giving an entertaining reading of his book ‘Boom Bah!’ and puppeteer Sue Harris and her friend Emma providing lots of laughs in their promotion of reading. Next was an inspirational address by singer, songwriter, and ambassador for the Royal Society for the Blind, Rachael Leahcar. She read her speech which explained her continued love of reading despite now only having 10% vision. Rachael congratulated the students and also thanked the PRC for offering more opportunities for everyone and being inclusive of those with special needs.

To conclude the Reception students were able to have photos taken with the ambassadors and were also given the opportunity of a close up animal encounter with various animals including a quokka, possum and two green tree frogs, Kermit and Freddo. Jaidyn, Matthew and I thoroughly enjoyed being able to represent all of Westminster Preparatory School students. It was nice to be rewarded for all of the reading that has been done this year and the special event certainly highlighted the importance of continuing to read, not only to assist educationally but also for the pure enjoyment that reading can offer. 

Thank you to students for completing the Premier’s Reading Challenge this year. I look forward to lots more reading and yet another successful year in 2014.

Julia Baldwin
Preparatory School Teacher Librarian

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