Today is Banjo Paterson's birthday so off I went to assembly this morning to talk about him. We had fun with Mulga Bill's Bicycle and I reminded the children that it was in fact Banjo Paterson who wrote Waltzing Matilda. We have two illustrated versions of this poem to choose from. The newer version done by Freya Blackwood even includes a CD with John Williamson singing. Freya does an amazing job at capturing the dry, drought-ridden rural Australia and her illustrations make explaining the vocabulary, such as 'billabong' and 'jumbuck' much easier.
Our school is taking part in the NSW Premier's Reading Challenge as we usually do, but this year we decided that because 2012 is the National Year of Reading we would try just that bit harder to increase the number of children who participate. So far so good. I am spruiking at assemblies. The principal and staff are taking part and writing down on their list every book they read to a class or to themselves. The principal has even written in the newsletter about books that she has read. So far she has written about The Little Refugee by Ahn Do and Bruce Whatley and Ziba Came by Boat by Liz Lofthouse and Robert Ingpen. She shows the children books that she has read or reads an excerpt to whet their appetites and then the children come rushing to the library to borrow them. Today she read the opening sentences of Stuck by Charlotte Calder so of course lots of children wanted to know what happened. The beginning of the school year has certainly started well reading-wise!