Reading Australia

By Josephine Johnston

Josephine Johnston, CEO of Copyright Agency, announces a partnership with Reading Australia, making Australian writers' books easily searchable on SCIS.

As we start the new year with some new resolutions and the all-important goal to read more books, it is also timely to think of how we can encourage young Australians to read more Australian stories.

We all know the benefits of reading – it makes us happier, healthier, financially secure and more empathetic, amongst other great benefits – but we need to read our stories. Reading stories about our country, our heritage and our people helps us to better understand ourselves. It helps us to make sense of our place, our history and our future. What better way to do this than by reading books by Australian writers?

A picture of Josephine Johnston, Nicola Evans and Jenny Ryan from Reading Australia.

Josephine Johnston, Nicola Evans and Jenny Ryan from Reading Australia.

Australia has a rich literary history, from Miles Franklin to Tim Winton to Melissa Lucashenko. While many of us have grown up reading books by Australian writers in the classroom, these often compete with books by international authors, many of which were published decades ago. There’s nothing wrong with classics such as Catch-22, or even more modern titles like The Hunger Games, but Australian students should have the choice to read more Australian books.

This is where Reading Australia ( can help. We’re an online portal that provides teachers and school libraries with freely available resources for Australian books. We’re delighted to partner with Education Services Australia, the not-for-profit parent company of the Schools Catalogue Information Service (SCIS), to create searchable SCIS records for our resources. We believe that every society needs to tell its own stories. Our goal is to champion Australia’s rich literary history and connect teachers and school librarians with thoughtful, stimulating, challenging literary works for Australian students.

In 2023, Reading Australia celebrated 10 years of publishing quality teaching resources, marking this milestone at the AATE/ ALEA National Conference in Canberra. Now with more than 280 resources, Reading Australia will inspire you to bring Australian stories into your classroom.

We work closely with the Australian Literacy Educators’ Association (ALEA) and Australian Association for the Teaching of English (AATE) to create and publish curriculum-mapped, freely available units of work for years F–12.

Reading Australia is managed by the Cultural Fund at the Copyright Agency, which is a not-for-profit organisation with more than 40,000 members – mainly Australian writers, artists, publishers and teachers. We collect licence fees for the reuse of text and images and distribute these as copyright royalty payments to our creator members.

Copyright Agency manages the Statutory Education Licence; the Commonwealth, State and Territory Government Statutory Licence; the Resale Royalty Scheme for visual artists; and the special provisions for institutions assisting people with print disabilities – as appointed by the Government or the Copyright Tribunal.

Through our Cultural Fund, we support income-generating opportunities for Australian writers, visual artists and publishers, and fund a range of key organisations (including the AATE/ALEA National Conference) for projects to connect with readers and audiences.

Reading Australia publishes 20 new resources every year. These units include curriculum codes, sample classroom and assessment activities, and links to other relevant online resources – all written by educators with active teaching experience. Reading Australia provides everything you need to comprehensively teach and engage your students across a suggested time frame.

Australian teachers have told us that they are interested in teaching (and reading) books by First Nations and diverse authors, and Reading Australia is publishing more resources for these books every year. There are now more than 75 resources for books by First Nations writers and illustrators, and there is a growing focus on providing resources for books by diverse writers.

Most popular resources in 2023

Every year we look at what books Australian teachers and teacher librarians are using in the classroom and library. The most popular resources on Reading Australia are listed here (accessible description of table available).

Career development support for teachers and teacher librarians

The Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund offers an annual Reading Australia Fellowship, valued at $15,000, for teachers of English and literacy and teacher librarians.

A table showing the most popular resources of 2023

Each Fellow undertakes a career-enhancing research project that benefits their own practice in teaching English to Australian students, as well as the broader education sector.

The Fellowship was first offered in 2019, and since then it has gone on to support career-enhancing projects for five teachers and teacher librarians.

Bridget Forster, a Victorian teacher with more than 20 years of experience, is the Reading Australia Fellow for 2023. She is the Head of Kerferd Library and a VCE Literature Teacher at Mentone Girls’ Grammar.

Bridget’s project will focus on using AI-generated texts in the English classroom to interrogate the notion of an Australian literary voice. She will explore how teachers can identify cultural bias and ethical issues in the use of AI in the English classroom; delve into the copyright implications of AI; and ask how students can be taught to be ethical users in this new and evolving context.

More information on next year’s Fellowship will be available on the Copyright Agency website in early 2024.

Become a member for FREE

I invite you to join the Copyright Agency – becoming a member is free. Please visit our website for more information on the benefits of membership, eligibility and how to join.

You can also register for a free Reading Australia account. This allows you to bookmark your favourite resources and add your own notes to return to later. You will also receive our regular Reading Australia newsletter featuring brand new resources as well as book- and education-related news.

Josephine Johnston

Josephine Johnston


Copyright Agency