A national celebration of storytime

By Brendan Eichholzer

ALIA's National Simultaneous Storytime will be held on Wednesday 23 May, 2018. Brendan Eichholzer shares how to celebrate it in school libraries.

National Simultaneous Storytime (NSS) is an annual event organised by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) as part of the Library and Information Week celebrations. Each year a picture book, written by an Australian author, is read simultaneously in libraries, schools, preschools, childcare centres, family homes, and bookshops. Now in its 18th year, NSS is a fun, vibrant event that aims to promote the value of reading and literacy, using an Australian children’s book that explores age-appropriate themes, and addresses key learning areas of the Australian Curriculum for Foundation to Year 6.

With NSS, ALIA aims to get as many people as possible reading, while also promoting the valuable contributions that libraries make to our communities. This includes showcasing the value of reading and literacy, highlighting Australian writers and publishers, putting the spotlight on storytime activities across the country, and providing opportunities for parents, grandparents, the media and others to participate in and enjoy the act of reading.

Each year NSS receives positive media coverage and generates community interest. In 2017, NSS was the biggest and most successful to date with 686,324 registered participants at over 6,000 locations. In 2018, we officially welcome communities in New Zealand to participate in NSS for the first time, thanks to the support of LIANZA (Library Association of New Zealand Aotearoa).

National Simultaneous Storytime Information Poster

NSS 2018 takes place on Wednesday 23 May at 11 am (AEST) and we would love you to join us in reading Hickory Dickory Dash, written by Tony Wilson and illustrated by Laura Wood. Ensure that you register before Monday 21 May 2018 (it’s free!), so you don’t miss out. On this date, we will send you a digital version of the book as well as a version that has been signed in AUSLAN. You can order print copies of the book online, and find it in most major book retailers. There is also a range of merchandise available to help you celebrate the day.

Anyone can participate in NSS; it doesn’t matter whether you are registering a home, school, public library or university library. You could partner with a local business for an NSS morning tea, read the book at your school assembly, celebrate in the staffroom during lunchbreak, or even help those in need by donating a copy of the book to your local library or childcare centre.

To help prepare you for NSS 2018, ALIA and Scholastic Australia — with thanks to Tony Wilson and Laura Wood — have prepared a range of resources to help you make the most of the day. Please note that all artwork, downloads, and digital presentations are licensed for use only in conjunction with NSS events and activities. See the permissions from the publisher for more information.

There are free resources available on the ALIA website to help make NSS 2018 a special day for all, including teacher’s notes to accompany the book. You can also download printable files containing instructions to create cut-out finger puppets, find-a-words, and even a find-the-mouse chatterbox. You can also encourage participants to create clock faces with moveable hands; or plan a dramatisation of the book, which could be performed alongside the reading. Make sure to let ALIA know what you are up to by using the hashtag #NSS2018 on all your social media in the lead up to NSS 2018.

Getting young children reading is vital to their development, and storytimes are a great way to involve them in the magic. Taking part in events like NSS not only gives children the wonderful experience of the day, but also reminds parents of the importance of reading to young minds, and contributes to creating healthy reading habits for life. School libraries are a crucial part of making NSS such a success, while exposing thousands of children to storytime activities. In 2018, NSS will bring together over 1 million participants from across Australia and New Zealand. Will you be joining us to make this the biggest and most successful National Simultaneous Storytime yet?

Brendan Eichholzer

Brendan Eichholzer

Publications editor

Australian Library and Information Association