How to Make the Most of the Premier’s Reading Challenge

The NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge (PRC) opens on the 21st March 2021, and it aims to instil a love of books in students and encourage them to view reading as a relaxing pastime. PRC challenges kids to read more books and be more adventurous in their choices. 

All students from Kindergarten through to Year 9 in NSW are eligible to participate (other states have different dates). Students are required to read a set number of books, both PRC selected and personal choice, based on their year at school. They need to complete their online reading record by 20th August 2021 to receive a certificate. 

If your child is homeschooled or their school isn’t involved this year, they can still participate. Details are on the website.

These tips will help children make the most of this excellent initiative.

Focus on Personal Satisfaction

Competition can be a motivating factor for kids, however if they are focused on ‘winning’ by reading the most, children are much more likely to skim books without really taking them in. To get the most out of the challenge it’s important for students to realise the purpose is to read widely and learn new things. Books are for savouring and enjoying, so encourage your child to see the personal satisfaction gained through reading as a reward in itself.

Start a Library Habit

Your local library should have a dedicated area for PRC books. If you don’t already visit the library regularly, now is the perfect time to start a library habit which will benefit your child for life. Ask your librarian which books your child might enjoy and check out the other resources on offer. Many libraries will host author chats and other book-related activities over this time which encourage kids to think of the library as a fun and exciting place.

Allow Kids to Give Up  

If your child isn’t enjoying a book, it’s important not to force them to continue to the end. The goal is to help them learn to love reading and this won’t happen if reading becomes a chore. Some books take a little more time to win readers over, and it’s fine to ask them to persevere a little further on the understanding it’s their choice to stop if it still doesn’t capture them. Kids are much more likely to continue reading on their own when they have choices. 

Schedule in Reading Time 

You can introduce PRC books to younger children as part of their bedtime story routine. To ensure older children are reading regularly, you might need to schedule some reading time. This could be included in their homework time, or you could introduce it as part of the wind-down before bed. The secret is to make reading relaxing and enjoyable. To pique your child’s interest, go through the list of PRC books together and highlight the ones they think they’ll enjoy. 

Create a Visual Record 

Some schools require reading logs signed by parents, but you can take it a step further by helping your child create a visual record of the books they’ve read. All you need to do is scan the book covers, print them out or ask your child to create their own. This is a fun and stimulating way to remind kids of what they’ve read and give them a sense of achievement.  

Students have much to gain by participating in the PRC.