By Jed Lanyon
Chum Creek Primary School was one of the 9890 locations who shared a reading of Alpacas with Maracas as part of National Simultaneous Storytime on Wednesday 22 May.
The school invited Natalie Kerst from Big Bouquet alpaca farm in Healesville to read this year’s chosen book to their students.
At 11am, everyone participating in the National Simultaneous Storytime read Alpacas with Maracas.
The Australian Library and Information Association said that over one million people took part in this year’s reading across Australia and New Zealand.
Ms Hosking said that Chum Creek Primary School had participated in the yearly reading for seven years and that they always aim to get the community involved in the event.
“Each year, depending on the theme of the book, we try to ask someone from the Healesville community to read. We’ve had the CFA, we’ve had bus drivers and the police,” she said.
“It depends on what the book is, one year it was about a cow, so we asked a local farmer to come and read and he brought his cow too.”
Ms Hosking said that inviting people in to read to the school can be an intimidating task and that some years they struggled to find a relevant reader, but this wasn’t the case with Ms Kerst from Big Bouquet.
“Im one of the tour guides at the Big Bouquet so talking to groups of people is something I do on a daily basis,” she said.
“I’ve also got two little kids myself who are pretty tough critics, so this batch of kids was pretty easy.”
Several senior students travelled to the alpaca farm to learn more about the animal, while documenting their experience to show other students via video.
“A lot of our kids here knew nothing about alpacas and we couldn’t all go to the alpaca farm, so we thought this was an easy way to teach them a little bit about alpacas,” Ms Hosking said.
Chum Creek Primary School doesn’t just take part in the reading, but made the entire school day to be alpaca themed.
“The playgroup children made alpaca faces, and then we do Auslan, so we’re going to be looking at the story and learning and watching how interpreters do that story in sign language,” Ms Hosking said.
“And then in other classes they are going to be making some alpaca puppets.”
National Simultaneous Storytime aims to promote the value of reading and literacy as well as the value and fun of books to schoolchildren.