How Scholastic Champion Literacy


When the founder of Duffy Books in Homes, Alan Duff, came to Scholastic asking for their help with ‘bookless homes’ it struck a real chord with Rob and others at Scholastic. What started out as a donation of books to Camberley School in Hastings, has grown into the partnership that Scholastic and Duffy have today, where 15 million books have been distributed to tamariki in New Zealand.

Rob has been a champion of literacy for many years, and has been given many awards in her services to literacy and has a special interest in literacy for boys. She has this to say about the programme: “I remember when Alan Duff came to visit Scholastic and his quote about ‘bookless homes’ struck a chord with us all. A few years later I become involved and have been ever since. My personal vision is to have books in every single kiwi kid’s bedroom and every principal’s office! One of the key aspects of the program is that our tamariki get to choose their own books. They each receive a brochure with all the possible book options and they choose what they’re interested in, what they want to read. The list of books available in each brochure is also chosen by Duffy teachers and tamariki – we hold ‘book choice workshops’ where we have a big selection of books and both kaiako and akonga choose which books they’d like to see in the next brochure. We’ve found the book series are popular and really help turn our tamariki into readers”.

Rob says it’s her greatest joy and pleasure to be involved in Duffy Books in Homes and that there’s a difference between reading a book and owning a book. She’s seen the attitude to reading change, where akonga talk openly about books, their favourite series and authors. One of her personal highlights has been watching tamariki at Role Model assemblies. “I remember watching a child being given a book and they hugged it into their chest. A taonga for them to keep forever.”

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