If you’re starting to think about Book Week ideas for your class, you’ve come to the right place! Children’s Book Week is fast approaching, with primary school teachers, librarians, parents and kids around Australia preparing to celebrate a love of literacy.
Book Week is a perfect opportunity to teach students the importance of reading and writing and involve them in fun and educational activities. The teacher team here at Teach Starter have put pen to paper and come up with a heap of fun and curriculum-aligned Book Week ideas for you to incorporate into your lesson planning. Read on to learn more about how to incorporate this year’s Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) shortlisted books in your classroom and more ideas to make CBCA Book Week fun and educational too.
CBCA Shortlist Books
Before we dive into our teacher team’s favourite ideas for engaging students in the classroom this Book Week, we thought a look at the shortlisted books might provide some inspiration for your lesson plans! Here are the books the CBCA put on their shortlist this year for its Book of the Year.
Picture Book of the Year
- Dirt by Sea by Tom Jellett (illustrated by Michael Wagner)
- Farmhouse by Sophie Blackall
- Frank’s Red Hat by Sean E Avery
- My Strange Shrinking Parents by Zeno Sworder
- Our Dreaming by Dub Leffler (illustrated by Kirli Saunders)
- Paradise Sands: A Story of Enchantment by Levi Pinfold
Book the Year: Younger Readers
- August & Jones by Pip Harry
- Evie and Rhino by Neridah McMullin (illustrated by Astred Hicks)
- The Raven’s Song by Zana Fraillon & Bren MacDibble
- Runt by Craig Silvey
- The Way of Dog by Zana Fraillon (illustrated by Sean Buckingham)
- Xavier in the Meantime by Kate Gordon
Book of the Year: Older Readers
- Ask No Questions by Eva Collins
- Completely Normal (and Other Lies) by Biffy James
- The Greatest Thing by Sarah Winifred Searle
- Neverlanders by Tom Taylor (illustrated by Jon Somariva)
- The Other Side of Tomorrow by Hayley Lawrence
- What We All Saw by Mike Lucas
Engaging Book Week Ideas for the Classroom
Review 2023 CBCA Shortlisted Books
A perfect way to get your students involved in Book Week is to encourage your students to read the CBCA’s shortlisted books in the classroom and then conduct book reviews. Whether as a group activity or individual reading time, you could make it a challenge to read one book a day in the lead-up to the event and then get your students to review their favourite story.
Teachers can use the book review session as an opportunity for students to identify themes in the book, make inferences and interpret different scenes through drawing.
Make Book Week Costumes Based on Kids’ Own Characters
Getting dressed up in a book-inspired costume for the school Book Week parade is always a favourite activity for students, but who says that costume has to be based on a published book? Have your students write and publish their own text and then dress up as the character they created!
This is an excellent opportunity for students to work not just on characterization as they create well-rounded characters by focusing on physical attributes, personalities, backgrounds and motivations, but also to showcase their understanding of a character’s story arc in their narrative.
Set up a Street Library at School
You may have walked past quaint library boxes in your neighbourhood or even spotted some outside schools full of free books to exchange. Free book exchanges are a lovely way to encourage literacy and build community, so why not set one up at your school this Book Week? You could fill the book exchange box with CBCA shortlisted books for kids to read and swap out for another once they’re finished reading.
Students can also get creative by decorating the box with book themes! If you’re jumping at this idea, Street Library Australia has some handy tips for setting up and building your own free library.
Freebie alert! Get your students to write about their Book Week costume with this printable template.
Conduct a Research Task Based on a Book
After reading one of the shortlisted Book Week texts, challenge your students to start a research task based on the book’s theme, a character or the location where the story takes place.
For example, one shortlisted picture book, Dirt by Sea by Michael Wagner, follows the story of a father and daughter road-tripping from the Australian outback to the coastline. Students could use this book to research the geography of Australia, identify different animals and elements unique to Australia and present their findings in a poster or brochure to share with the class.
Go on a Class Excursion to the Library
Kids love excursions, so why not get your class into the spirit of Book Week by taking a trip to your local library? Many city council libraries run fun and educational activities for kids during Book Week, such as a read-along and author visits. Be sure to check out your local library website to explore any free classes, workshops and activities they might offer during Book Week.
Once back in the classroom, you can get your students to fill out a reading response worksheet to reflect on what they learned at the library about their favourite books and authors.
Organise a Book Swap
Many children have books that they have outgrown as they have developed their reading skills. Give those older books new life with a whole school book swap during Book Week.
The swap can be teacher-run, or you could call on your year 6 students to work on their leadership skills by planning and running the entire secondhand book exchange! Students can create brochures and posters advertising the upcoming swap to practise creating informational texts.
Create a Class Book Inspired by ‘Read, Grow, Inspire’
After your students have had time to absorb the wonderful CBCA shortlisted books and how they relate to the theme of ‘Read, Grow, Inspire,’ get the class together to write and illustrate your own book! You can collaborate and decide on a storyline, such as how your class celebrated and participated in Book Week, before each student is assigned a page to create. Once finished, compile all the pages into a book and display it in the classroom or library!
Creating a book is an excellent activity for students to develop their reflective and storytelling skills and creativity. At the end of the school year, you can have the book photocopied and given to every student who collaborated as a special keepsake.
Write a Short Story Using a Writing Prompt
In addition to creating a collaborative book, students can have a go at writing their own short stories. Students can base their short story on a character or scene from one of the shortlisted books or let their imagination run wild by dreaming up a new narrative — the possibilities are endless!
My Dream Story is an excellent writing prompt template for brainstorming and turning their bright ideas into a story. Students can use it to:
- Identify characters in the story and draw them in the right lens of the glasses.
- Determine the story setting and draw it in the left lens of their glasses.
- Describe their story in the text box.
- Combine the title, glasses and text on some backing paper.
- Pin it up with all the other students’ work to decorate the classroom for Book Week!
Invite Guest Readers to School
Your class is accustomed to you reading books to them, so why not change things up a bit for Book Week? Create a list of ‘guest’ readers from the community who come in throughout the week (or over the course of a single day) to read books to your class. You could even work with the teacher librarian to set up a guest reader station in the school library with a roll of different guests visiting to read to the various classes.
Teaching foundation this year? If your class is learning about community helpers, this is a great way to showcase those people from the neighbourhood who make a difference in our daily lives.
Don’t forget to work on letter-writing by creating thank you notes for all of your guest readers!
Go on a Literary Scavenger Hunt
Excite your students for Book Week by challenging them to a literary scavenger hunt around the school! Hide clues around the library or school relating to CBCA-shortlisted books for students to solve and locate specific books! A scavenger hunt is a perfect activity for your class to familiarise themselves with the shortlisted books and use their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.