By Tanja Galetti, Primary School Teacher Librarian & Rachella Simon, Secondary School Teacher Librarian
While celebrating literacy happens every day at HKA, it has been a long-standing tradition every March to dedicate a week to bring the entire community together through special literacy events. This year, as HKA celebrates its 20th Anniversary, everyone was invited to share a story under the theme “Our HKA, Our Hong Kong, Our Stories.” and share it in any format they enjoy – written, drawn, recorded, or in images.
The week was enthusiastically launched by Deborah Abela, an author from Australia who has so far published 27 books, some of which have been translated into different languages. She has written everything from picture books to historical and dystopian fiction. She has met with presidents, told stories in palaces, researched in caves, and would have liked to have been an astronaut – if she wasn’t so afraid of heights. Deb writes on a wide range of topics – ones she either loves, like space and unlikely heroes, or feels “cranky” about, like climate change. Not only did she inspire our readers and writers with her stories and practical writing tips, her contagious passion for writing, her talk connected to other curriculum areas and units of inquiry as well.
Deborah showed how a storyteller goes about telling her story to make it engaging for the audience, supporting Grade 1’s current inquiries under the transdisciplinary theme of How We Express Ourselves. She also referred to issues like climate change and spoke passionately about our responsibility to take care of this planet, connecting to our Grade 5 student inquiries into issues they are passionate about as part of their PYP Exhibition. For our older learners, Deborah shared how authors use personal experiences for inspiration, providing rich ideas for our Grade 10 students to explore as they study and write memoirs.
Another highlight of the week was Book Character Day, during which students and faculty are invited to come to school dressed as a character from a favourite book. It is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate books and our community impresses each year with their creativity and enthusiasm in putting outfits together.
The week came to an end with two more popular Primary School events: Pajama Day – because comfy clothes are just perfect for a day of reading – and the 8 hour Continuous Reading Chair, this year re-imagined. Throughout the day, students were able to listen via Google Meet to readers from across the community sharing a story they love.