Nicky Page, Director City of Literature said, “It’s exciting to partner with the Highlanders on this pilot initiative. Together we’re going to remind young Dunedinites that reading is cool and we’re going to have lots of fun doing it. The Highlanders and the children will swap stories about their favourite books, magazines or lyrics and will read bits to each other. It will be a great way to make friends.”
The programme which will run for term two will feature repeat visits by players to the schools. Local writer-illustrators Robyn Belton and Kathryn van Beek, whose recent books will be read to the children by the players, will also visit each school to provide tips on writing and illustrating.
It is hoped that the programme will continue next year, with a different group of schools invited to sign up. The pupils will receive a certificate, and books by local writers will be purchased for donation to the school libraries.
Research into reading, such as Reading for Change (OECD, 2002), shows strong links between reading for pleasure and success and wellbeing in life.
Pulse Energy Highlanders Marketing Manager Amanda Gould said, “We understand that learning to read is one of the most important factors in school success, and reading books and listening to stories really contributes to success in early literacy. Our Little Landers fan base will no doubt enjoy the interaction with the players and I know the players enjoy doing these types of community programmes that make a difference in our people’s lives”.
Six schools will be part of the pilot: Bathgate Park School, Bradford School, Brockville School, Carisbrook School, Concord School and Pine Hill School.