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13 September 2013 ·

A PS to the Reading Hour: hooking kids into reading:

Australia’s official Reading Hour is over for another year, but I hope that the practice of reading to your child will continue throughout homes across the country, and the world, every day.
I loved reading with a great bunch of kids at Mornington Library. They were insatiable and I soon worked through the stack of picture books I’d picked up after reading The Princess and her Panther. By then we’d collected some older kids too, so I read the first 5 chapters of Ark in the Park.

I think they would have happily gone listening on for another hour if the librarian hadn’t thought my voice needed rescuing!

Since then I’ve been enjoying this wonderful hamper of treats – but the real treat was an email I received a couple of days after the event.  It truly encapsulates what the Reading Hour, and the whole Love2Read campaign, is all about. Because the best thing is that once a kid finds a book that hooks them into reading, they’re hooked for life.
So here’s part of what a mother wrote to me:
I thought you might like to know too that my seven year old also really enjoyed Ark in the Park. He has found learning to read a fairly major challenge in his life, but he’s a determined small boy, and you inadvertently left him with a big challenge when you only read part of the book!
We borrowed the book from the library with me expecting to read the rest to him but he’s decided to read it himself instead! He’s only reading at about level 10 (a sentence or two to a page) at school but he’s been reading Ark in the Park by stopping and spelling out each word he doesn’t know (quite a lot of them!) and asking constantly ‘what does this say’? as he goes along. Amazingly he’s up to chapter 8, and still ploughing through it, one word at a time. He’s obviously pretty determined to find out what happens in between where you left off and the last line that you read!
As they say – it often takes a village to raise a child – just thought it might be nice for you to know how your story has made a difference to one small boy!


  1. Louise What a wonderful feeling that must be! Congratulations. There's so much bad news about reading rates and parents not reading to their children at night it's great to see some positive news. I'm glad that mother sent you the email.
    September 14, 2013 at 6:55 pm · Reply
  2. Wendy Orr Thanks. And I'm very glad she emailed too - such a wondeful thing to hear!
    September 14, 2013 at 6:57 pm · Reply
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Wendy Orr is a Canadian-born Australian writer. Her books for children and adults have been published in 27 countries and won awards around the world. Nim’s Island and Nim at Sea have also become feature films, starring Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin (Nim’s Island) and Bindi Irwin (Return to Nim’s Island.) Her latest book is Cuckoo’s Flight, a companion to the highly acclaimed Bronze Age novels Dragonfly Song and Swallow’s Dance. Read full bio