Skip to main content

Sharing the Reading Experience

By April 13th, 2022No Comments
Young boy being so immersed in reading his book it feels like magic

Looking for ways to be more involved in your child’s education? The answer may be in a family movie night or catching up on a classic novel!


If you’re looking for family activities or ways to get more involved in your child’s learning, you may like to ask the young people in your household what they are reading for school. (You can read up about fostering literacy skills at home here).

“ You might find yourself re-acquainted with books from your past or you might find a new interest in a whole new field of fiction. If you show an interest in reading a book and starting a discussion about the characters or story you might find it re-kindles interest from your children and young people”.


And, as an added bonus, many of the books on the study list have film adaptations and your school may be able to provide the necessary links for a family movie night with a difference. You might enjoy seeing a black and white classic like To Kill a Mockingbird or more recent titles like Lord of the Flies or Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

You will need to check with the young people in your household as to what they are reading for their school in Term 2, but some local secondary colleges provided the following list to whet your appetite – a great mix of Australian and international fiction, some big names and some well-deserved timeless classics.


  • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  • Blueback by Tim Winton
  • The Barrumbi Kids by Leonie Norrington
  • Matilda by Roald Dahl.


  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  • Once by Morris Gleitzman
  • Boy Overboard by Morris Gleitzman
  • Hitler’s Daughter by Jackie French
  • Refuge also by Jackie French
  • Everything I’ve Never Said by Samantha Wheeler
  • Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden


  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.
“These titles introduce our students to characters who display resilience, courage and hope – qualities which we are all seeking to find in our current lives at the moment” – Eloise Harnett (Librarian).


Reading a school-set book or watching its film adaptation as a family will no doubt be incidental to what your school is doing in its learning-from-home English classes. But it can provide a great experience both for learning and for family. But if you are looking for some cues to start a conversation, top educator Lyn Sharratt has provided the following from her site:

  • Knowing what we know about who created this text, how do we expect the author to treat the subject matter?
  • Why are we reading or viewing this text?
  • What do we already know about the text based on what we can see (Pictures/illustrations)?
  • What do the images/pictures suggest? What do the words suggest?
  • What kind of language is used (words are used) in this text? What is its influence on the message?
  • What do you interpret to be the author’s intent? Explain.
  • With whom do you think the author wants us to identify or sympathise?
  • Who is the target audience? How do you know?
  • How might different people interpret the message of the text?
  • How are children, adolescents, young adults or parents represented in this text?
    Are boys or girls represented differently?
  • What has been left out of this text that you would like to have seen included?
  • Is the text fair? Does it treat the subject matter/sides/parties fairly?
  • Who benefits from this text? Who does not?
  • What does the reader/viewer need to know ahead of time in order to really understand this text?
  • What is real in the text? What is not real? How is reality constructed?
  • How might the creator of this text view the world? Why do you think that?

Andrew McKenzie is the Manager – Governance and Engagement at Cairns Catholic Education