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The Melbourne Zoo elephant exhibit and an Australian wildlife enclosure at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo was among the ‘virtual’ classrooms that Rugby League players and ambassadors used on Wednesday to engage more than 1100 schoolchildren in Australia’s biggest single storytelling session.

Players and Ambassadors from the Bulldogs, Eels, Raiders, Sea Eagles, Sharks, Storm and Titans will read in libraries, classrooms, a learning centre and the two zoos in person and by video conference as part of the Australian Library and Information Association’s annual National Simultaneous Storytime.

Among the unique experiences will be Storm Ambassador and former captain Robbie Kearns reading to 280 children from nine schools via video conference at Melbourne Zoo near the elephant exhibit; and Sea Eagles Reading Captain Brenton Lawrence doing the same at Taronga Zoo Education Centre.

This year more than 410,000 Years 2-4 schoolchildren at over 2300 locations across the country will have Ursula Dubosarsky’s Too Many Elephants in This House read to them at 11am tomorrow (Wednesday), making it Australia’s biggest single simultaneous storytime since its inception in 2000.

NRL Head of Community, Adam Check, said: “National Simultaneous Story Time is a program that the NRL is incredibly proud to be associated with as part of our Community, Culture and Diversity program.

“We fundamentally believe that the profile of the game and its players can have a positively profound influence in the community, particularly in key areas such as education.

“It is particularly exciting to see schools in remote and rural settings involved in the event through the use of video conferencing because these communities are such an integral part of the Rugby League family.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.