Readers Are Winners!

Caption: Winner Andrew Saliba checks out his new Google Chromebook together with Teacher Librarian Patricia Lee and his mother Reema.

This year 638 students from Catholic schools across Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains stepped up to take the Executive Director’s Summer Reading Challenge! In total, 3 067 books were read as part of the competition: over 1000 more books than last year!

The competition promotes reading throughout the summer school holidays by encouraging students to read as many books as they can for the chance to win great prizes. Two major prize winners and 30 runners up were selected at random.

Students Olivia Tomich and Andrew Saliba, their supportive families and school representatives recently gathered in Parramatta where they were welcomed by Executive Director Greg Whitby and David Herring representing sponsor Teachers Mutual Bank.

“I’m really passionate about encouraging students to love literature,” said Executive Director Greg Whitby. “This challenge is also about getting students to keep up their good work in learning over the school holidays.”

Caption: Olivia Tomich receives her prize from Executive Director Greg Whitby and David Herring from Teachers’ Mutual Bank.

Caroline Chisholm College Glenmore Park Year 8 student Olivia Tomich’s winning read in the competition was JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. She recommends this most recent addition to the Harry Potter series, pointing out that as it is a play rather than a novel, “it’s good but different”.

Olivia first got into books after getting bored watching television. Her father David, also a keen reader, is pleased she is always reading. “We’re really proud of her,” Mr Tomich said.

Olivia is planning to give the Google Chromebook she won as a prize to her mum, who is about to start studying to become a lactation consultant.

Caroline Chisholm College Principal Greg Elliott came along to celebrate Olivia’s success too. He also acknowledged teacher Ms Clarke who has acted as a reading mentor to Olivia, sharing great ideas about what to read next.

“What better way is there to spend Summer?” Mr Elliott said. “Olivia sets a great example to her classmates.”

Olivia’s tip for parents and carers about supporting children and young people to become readers is: “let the kid pick the book”.

Caption: Andrew Saliba receives his prize from Executive Director Greg Whitby and David Herring from Teachers’ Mutual Bank.

Year 6 student Andrew Saliba from St Michael’s Primary Baulkham Hills shares a love of reading the Guiness Book of Records with his father, David. Reflecting on Andrew’s achievement, his dad spoke about the importance of reading.

After some early challenges with his eyesight, Andrew has really been getting into reading lately and his family is thrilled about it. Like Olivia, he really enjoys the Harry Potter series. His winning entry in the competition was JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which he liked because it has wizards and is funny.

“I like reading about animals and different sports too,” Andrew said.

The youngest of three children, Andrew was really excited to win his very own Google Chromebook.

St Michael’s Primary Baulkham Hills Teacher Librarian Patricia Lee, a strong supporter of the Executive Director’s Summer Reading Challenge, was excited to come along and celebrate Andrew’s win too. She also acknowledged Andrew’s classroom teacher in encouraging him to take the challenge.

School librarians played a big role in the success of this year’s challenge, together with student reading ambassadors. The most popular authors this year were Aaron Blabey, Andy Griffith, Anh Do, Enid Blyton and JK Rowling.

Well done to all participants! Thank you sponsors Teachers’ Mutual Bank for partnering with Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta.