Farmer Ken reads to the kids

Warialda Public School reading program goes viral

Machinery
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Warialda Public School's reading program goes viral

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A school's social media program aimed at inspiring families to make reading part of their daily routine has taken a new turn, using farmers and other professional parents from its rural community to tell the story.

Warialda Public School principal Dan van Velthuizen said the program began through school staff reading stories for children in their pyjamas and posting them to the school's Facebook page.

"Following on from that, we wanted to see how we could put a different spin on it, so I sent some texts out to parents with different professions and asked whether they were up for the challenge," he said.

Mr van Velthuizen said the page now features a number of parents reading stories to children, many with an agricultural focus.

"Farmer Ken did his next to the tractor, while farmer Geoffrey actually did his from the tractor cab, he had pulled up while sowing," he said.

Croppa Creek farmer Ken Barnett reads Tractors by Catherine Foreman to kids as part of the Warialda Public School social media reading program.

Croppa Creek farmer Ken Barnett reads Tractors by Catherine Foreman to kids as part of the Warialda Public School social media reading program.

"Seventy per cent of our kids are on farms, either as owners or their parents work on farms, the other thirty per cent live in a community that relies on agriculture.

"We are totally impacted by the drought and I think there are a lot of people finding it tough, so if this brings a smile to their face or acts as a distraction that is a good thing."

Mr van Velthuizen said in the three weeks the program had been running it had received immense support.

"Its getting some really good numbers behind it, one of the clips alone had received over 60,000 views," he said.

"While it is a bit of fun, and everyone is enjoying the social media side of it, at the end of the day the most important thing is that everyone is talking about reading."

Mr van Velthuizen said his end goal was now to make reading part of his students' everyday routines as evidence shows reading at home can have benefits to all areas of children's learning.

"The ideal reaction is that it starts a culture and a habit for those families, whether they watch the videos and talk about the stories, or if our kids follow up by reading with their parents," he said.

Mr van Velthuizen said it was particularly great for children to see a number of adult role models reading.

"A lot of the time we don't see dads doing the reading, so that has been a nice touch."

Mr van Velthuizen said people could visit the Warialda Public School Facebook page to view the stories.

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