Literary icon David Malouf invited teachers and students to discover Australian stories when he launched Reading Australia at the country’s premier event for English educators, the AATE/ALEA Conference in Canberra today.
Reading Australia, set up by not-for-profit rights organisation, the Copyright Agency, provides teaching resources for books, plays and poetry from top Aussie authors such as Malouf, Tim Winton, Sonya Hartnett, Richard Flanagan, Jackie French and Nick Enright.
The website has been redeveloped to include new features such as an enhanced search, a personal dashboard for bookmarking and adding notes. Watch what has changed in our 60 second fly through video.
Copyright Agency Chair, Kim Williams, says, “With much recent debate about improving literacy standards among students, Reading Australia provides a compelling argument to teach exceptional Australian stories.
“Our research found that in recent years Australian books, both classic and modern, were being taught less in schools. Some of them were out of print, but the main reason was the lack of easy-to-find, high quality teaching resources linked to the curriculum. As an organisation for writers, artists and publishers, we want Australian children and young adults to develop literacy by experiencing homegrown stories.
“With our partner organisations, we’ve sought out the best teachers to develop the resources and we’ve also engaged leading authors, such as Germaine Greer, Malcolm Knox and Stephanie Dowrick to write essays responding to many of the books.”
For any avid reader, this site is a ready reckoner of some 220 of Australia’s best-loved stories. You’ll want to see how many of the titles you’ve read – from the latest page-turner, like Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North, to poignant stories reflecting our early urban life, such as Ruth Park’s The Harp in the South.
Mr Malouf says, “Learning to read and immersing yourself in books provides untold pleasures. I know from my own experience that the reading I did in childhood and adolescence still has an impact on me today.
“With this wonderful resource, teachers will be able to bring the pure joy of reading to their students – from junior primary through to university. It’s also an excellent place for anyone to begin a journey of discovery of unforgettable Australian literature.”
Mr Williams says “I want to thank David for launching Reading Australia. His book of short works, The Complete Stories, is on the site with associated teaching resources for use with Year 11 students. They will also find an essay written about the book by Brisbane author Patrick Holland and an interview with David produced in association with ABC Splash.
“I also want to pay tribute to Brian Johns, a former Chair and Board Director of the Copyright Agency, who was the driving force behind Reading Australia.”
Reading Australia has been developed in partnership with the Australian Association for the Teaching of English, the Primary English Teaching Association Australia, the Australian Literacy Educators Association and the Association for the Study of Australian Literature.