|Ambassadors Tracey Hawkins, Tania McCartney, Irma Gold, Jack Heath, not present: Virginia Haussegger|
On 30 November, 250 people descended on the National Library for the closing ceremony of the ACT's Chief Minister's Reading Challenge.
The Challenge was introduced in the ACT in 2004 to encourage students to increase their engagement with reading. To complete the Challenge, students from preschool to year 8 are required to read 15 books or more between February and September. These can be novels, non-fiction, poetry, or books in a language other than English. Alongside public and non-government schools, home and community language schools also participate in the Challenge.
2016 has been the most successful year of the Challenge, with 90 schools registering, and with over 31,000 students participating in total. Between May and September 2016, Ambassador reading sessions were held at Southern Cross Early Childhood Centre, Gold Creek School, Charles Weston School, St Mary McKillop College in Wanniassa, and Brindabella Christian College in Lyneham, with over 300 students participating.
An Awards Ceremony is held every year to celebrate the success of the Challenge and acknowledge the schools achieving the highest student completion rate that year. The 2016 Awards Ceremony had 48 schools attending. Winning schools were presented with certificates and book vouchers from sponsors, Paperchain Bookstore.
See here for more information on the Challenge and how you can get involved or start a similar initiative in your own state or territory.