News & Events

Carnival celebrates reading successes

Friday January 24 2020

Hundreds of children every year take part in Palmerston North's Great Reading Carnival, Te Taiopenga Pānui Hira. It's so popular there's a ballot for places.

Photo shows a large crowd of children and their families picnicking in the Esplanade.

Hundreds of children and their families enjoyed the carnival atmosphere at the Esplanade for the finale of the Summer Reading Programme last Thursday evening.

Event entertainment included music with DFresh, Dingleberry the Clown, and performances from the Palmeirinhos (Brazilian kids' community group). The Palmeirinhos have been working with Rangiwahia Environmental Arts Centre to create traditional Brazilian bull props called Boi Bumba or Bumba meu Boi. Children were invited to dress up in their favourite costume.

Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith, City Council Chief Executive Heather Shotter, and Councillors were out to help celebrate the children’s successes.

City Library Children’s Programme Coordinator Rhonda Chenery said the incentive-based reading programme, which is in its 23rd year, has achieved an average completion rate of 90 per cent across all programmes over the years it has run. It is funded through the Eastern and Central Community Trust and encourages and supports the enjoyment of reading over summer with more than 500 children aged four to 10 years in Palmerston North.

Children take part in the programme through the Central Library and community libraries in Ashhurst, Roslyn, Awapuni and Highbury (Te Pātikitiki). Te Reo is incorporated in the programme, and a multilingual book chat extends and support those children and families for whom English is not their first language.

Summer Reading continues to diversify and support the reading needs of our community, while also providing a precious opportunity for volunteers from our community to share their culture, knowledge and experiences, Chenery says. This year, 97 participants took up 13 different language options, with Tagalog and Malay chosen for the first time.

Participants are required to report-in a minimum of four times over the summer to successfully complete the programme. They achieve this by coming in and talking one-on-one with a librarian or volunteer (45 this year) about their reading – they receive an incentive for their efforts each time they do this.

Chenery says that beyond participation statistics, Summer Reading succeeds in a broader sense, through increasing a child’s communication, creativity and self-esteem, while also encouraging and supporting caregivers’ involvement with their children’s reading at home, and further fostering positive relationships between families, public libraries and librarians.

The carnival fun continues at local libraries with Te Taiopenga Raumati – Summer Carnival of Curiosities Collect-A-Card series. The cards are a way to engage children and families who are visiting the library over summer. Collect all the cards, complete all the activities.