KOALA at Birrong Girls High School

Teacher Librarian Victor Davidson relishes the opportunity that KOALA creates for getting his students involved in reading. He jumped right in last year, from nominations all the way to bringing a small crowd on the train to the Awards Day, and the girls responded with enthusiasm. How did they do it?

Birrong Girls High School participated in the KOALA program for the first time last year and it was an outstanding success. It suits our goal of engaging students in recreational reading to perfection.

While we run other reading programs, KOALA has proven to be the best way to expose students to peer endorsed literature and has empowered them to make choices. Moreover we appreciate the Australian focus and the opportunity for students to meet the authors and illustrators on the KOALA Short List.

We appreciated the website resources and the options available for nominating and voting. At Birrong we tailored the processes of nominating and voting to small groups. We are a low socio economic demographic and need to work hard to improve our literacy rates. KOALA provided the means for motivating students to engage and commit to literature.

The KOALA Awards day was one of the highlights of our year. The organisation was superb. We took 23 students to Newington College and each carried a book by one of the authors and illustrators for signing. Watching the students on the train intently reading their chosen author/illustrator was a peak experience for their Teacher Librarian!

By Victor Davidson

Birrong Girls High School