I recently attended the annual Queensland Childcare Association conference and I was so excited to be going—but my excitement went through the roof when I heard that the keynote speaker was Jackie French, the author of my favourite novel, I think in the world, To Love a Sunburnt Country!
I have always loved Jackie French! Ever since I was little I enjoyed reading—or mainly having read to me—her books. Probably the first one I heard was Stories to Eat with a Blood Plum. I must have been all of three-years-old, and my love of Jackie French books just grew and grew from there.
I came home from the conference still excited, but also inspired. Here are a couple of the keynote address quotes that I loved:
“Do you ever want a magic potion to make a child more intelligent, more compassionate, more understanding? … that magic potion is a book.”
“When reading books, children will learn to focus and learn that it is interesting to focus.”
And here, from my notes, are some tips & tricks from Jackie's talk; they struck me and may be helpful to you:
One big difference between TV and a book is that watching TV requires all of about 5 seconds focus — books need extended periods of time spent focusing — great for kids who are learning to focus. (Equally great for adults who need to keep up the skill, I think.)
Not every book fits every child … (I must remember that when my very young kindy kids wander away during story time!)
Don’t underestimate a child!
If you don’t have time to read a book, have a long conversation e.g. in the car, because that also requires long focus.
After reading a book two or three times—and if it’s a good book you will— give the child a copy to read on their own.
You can probably tell—I loved every moment of that keynote address!
Here are some Jackie French books that are already on the site (and that early favourite)—you might like to click for the posts. There will be more to come for sure!!!