Tips to promote a love of literature all year long

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday

As Children’s Book Week draws to a close for another year, EducationDaily reached out to Australian Catholic University‘s Victorian Head of the School of Education and children’s literacy expert, Dr Matthew Zbaracki, with some questions about how educators and families can promote a sustainable love of storytelling that lasts – even after the post-Book Week costume sales are a distant memory.

EducationDaily: What are the key things Australian teachers need to do to promote a love of literacy among their students?

Dr Zbaracki: We know being able to read, comprehend, and infer underpins academic achievement in all areas, so helping students to see the pleasure and experience the benefits that come with being avid readers will help boost their love of literature and their academic performance. It is critical that students have a wide range of positive experiences with reading different genres and text types. The positive reading experiences they have is then carried over into their own writing as they experiment with new genres, text types, and formats.

Is Book Week effective in boosting students’ love of literacy?

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Dr Zbaracki: Book Week is an institution. It’s a chance for students and educators to not only dress up but to truly immerse themselves in the world of literature. Book Week is an excellent opportunity for students (and teachers) to celebrate literature with a focus on favourite authors, characters, books, and so much more. The excitement from Book Week is an invitation to celebrate books year round!

How can teachers and parents help children create deeper connections with books – even now that Book Week is over?

Dr Zbaracki: When teachers are actively involved by dressing up and immerse themselves in the text through read-alouds, using funny voices and so on, this demonstrates a love of literature which models reading for pleasure. Teachers and parents play a crucial role in literacy development in children and this is specifically found in reading aloud to children. When a teacher or parent reads a book to a child with genuine enthusiasm it is an instant memory for children and it teaches the child that reading is valued, celebrated and important for a lifelong learner.

At the university level, we provide our students with a plethora of opportunities to explore and discover new authors, illustrators, and books that they can use in their own classrooms. We also encourage them to have as many reading experiences with children as possible so they are able to practice the necessary skills to make reading, books, and literature come alive for students.

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It’s so important Australian teachers continue to explore a range of text types with their students and be aware of new and exciting titles, authors, and illustrators to share with their students. Teachers are an excellent model for their students – the passion and excitement they show about literacy is infectious and will carry over into their own classrooms. By reading aloud to their students and sharing the enjoyment and excitement that comes from reading they are able to inspire a lifelong love of reading. Exploring a wide range of text types and delving into different forms of writing and reading expands a child’s perspectives.

So, although you might have only just managed to scrub away the last remnants of the face paint from this year’s Book Week parade, the message from Dr Zbaracki is clear. Whether in costume or not, keep sharing the passion for the pages of all kinds of books to show children that books can be interesting, exciting and fun – every day.

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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]