Boondall State School believe “readers are achievers” and they live it at the start of term one every year when they launch their home reading program.
The ‘reading in pyjamas night’ at school is for students and parents and encourages students to read every night.
Involving rugby league is a sure-fire way to get students interested, and when Queensland and NRL identities are willing play their part and read books to students to help them engage with the material, it is a fantastic outcome.
Years of experience in teaching has shown that while some students may struggle to find the motivation to read; if they are presented with an autobiography of a sports star – say Wally Lewis – or see their favourite athlete enjoying a book, they are more likely to engage.
Who better to help get the ball rolling and the pages turning than some NRL stars past and present.
Players involved in rugby league in Queensland are always willing to help out students, and previous years have seen the likes of Anthony Seibold and Queensland Maroons coach Kevin Walters read for the students.
In 2020, the reading in pyjamas night got some new readers.
Penrith Panthers new recruit and Queensland Maroons squad member Kurt Capewell was first on board.
“Once I knew what was involved, I knew I could do that; I probably didn’t read enough at primary school and wanted to help,” Capewell said.
“I really enjoyed reading ‘Don’t Open This Book’ – it was pretty funny.”
QRL board member and rugby league analyst Ben Ikin was next up.
He happily relived the 1980s with ‘My Folks Grew Up in the 80s’.
"I love to read and always have,” Ikin said.
“I go through phases, bouncing from fiction to non-fiction, depending whether I am in the mood to learn or relax.
“Either way, the reading keeps me sharp and helps me grow."
Melbourne Storm read Thelma the Unicorn
The Melbourne Storm assembled their top players for their recital of ‘Thelma the Unicorn’ with the reading led by Queensland number six Cam Munster, as well as Kiwi stars Brendon Smith and Jesse Bromwich.
Storm media’s Paul Munnings said the Storm saw value in reading and wanted to play their part.
“Many of the players in the Storm video are dads who read to their kids regularly,” Munnings said.
“They understand the importance of having good reading skills at early age and how it’s vital later in life.”
While NRLW premiership winner and Queensland Origin player Meg Ward also took time out to make sure her reading was spot on.
“I had just finished training so probably not my best reading, but how can you not help students want to read. Such a great life skill.”
The students of Boondall State School have gained a greater love of reading by using rugby league as a driver of reading change in their school.