Executive Summary

The South Australian Premier’s Reading Challenge (the Challenge) has continued for 17 consecutive years and continues to attract strong participation and support, thereby contributing to increased reading engagement by students.

  • A new record for the total number of students from all 3 education sectors who completed the Challenge in 2020 was set at 133,571, an incease of 1,185 completions on 2019.
  • 49% [i] of all South Australian students participate in the the Challenge.
  • 96% of South Australian schools participated, indicating that it is a highly valued program.
  • The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) were not conducted in 2020 due to COVID-19 hence the relationship with PRC participation cannot be reported.
  • Over 1.6 million books were read by students completing the Challenge in 2020, with over 21 million books read as part of the Challenge in South Australia since 2004.

For more information about the program, visit www.prc.sa.edu.au.

[i] Full-time equivalent students from ABS report 4221.0 Schools, Australia, 2020. Total students for 2020 were 272,756.

The Premier’s Reading Challenge is a literacy engagement program that challenges reception to year 12 students to read 12 books by early September each year.
Many schools incorporate the Challenge into their whole school approach to literacy.

Students are awarded a certificate or medal in progressive order based on the number of years the student has completed the Challenge. Students can earn 14 awards, 1 award for each year of schooling.
The program was initiated in South Australia in 2004 to encourage students to read more books for enjoyment and improve literacy levels. Some other states and territories in Australia conduct similar programs with these outcomes in mind.

The budget allocation for conducting the program in 2019 was $347,000. With completion by 132,362 students, this equates to approximately $2.62 per student.

Context

The Premier’s Reading Challenge is a literacy engagement program that challenges reception to year 12 students to read 12 books by early September each year.

Many schools incorporate the Challenge into their whole school approach to literacy.

Students are awarded a certificate or medal in progressive order based on the number of years the student has completed the Challenge. Students can earn 14 awards, 1 award for each year of schooling.
The program was initiated in South Australia in 2004 to encourage students to read more books for enjoyment and improve literacy levels. Some other states and territories in Australia conduct similar programs with these outcomes in mind.

The budget allocation for conducting the program in 2019 was $347,000. With completion by 132,362 students, this equates to approximately $2.62 per student.

What the Data Says

Participants

In 2019, 706 schools and 132,362 students completed the Challenge. This represents more than 97% of South Australian schools.

Total participants included:

  • 90,132 students from government schools
  • 20,511 from Catholic schools
  • 21,719 students from independent schools and home-educated or individual students (see Figure 1).
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Figure 1 - Number of students completing the Challenge in each educational sector from 2004 to 2019

Summary of table data

How the Challenge is Promoted

Poster

To encourage students to have a voice in the promotion of the Challenge we hold a survey to choose the poster for the following year.

South Australian artists are asked to design a poster for the primary or secondary category. Two are chosen for each category and students vote for their favourite on the website.

The winning primary poster was by Claire Wee and the secondary poster was by Jake Yang (see below). These will be printed and distributed as the posters for the 2020 Challenge campaign.

The website

In 2019, there were 132,898 visitors to the Premier’s Reading Challenge website, with an average of 932 visitors per day and a total of 618,296 page views. Just over 73% of visitors were from Australia, followed by United States with over 10% and China with over 2%, indicating an international profile of the SA Premier’s Reading Challenge.

The website was most often accessed by desktop computer (57.4%) followed by mobile device (30.8%) and then by tablet (11.8%),

School contact

In 2019, there were 132,898 visitors to the Premier’s Reading Challenge website, with an average of 932 visitors per day and a total of 618,296 page views. Just over 73% of visitors were from Australia, followed by United States with over 10% and China with over 2%, indicating an international profile of the SA Premier’s Reading Challenge.

The website was most often accessed by desktop computer (57.4%) followed by mobile device (30.8%) and then by tablet (11.8%),

Booklists

The booklists were maintained and updated by a panel of 3 teacher-librarians, a public librarian and the Challenge administration team who met regularly. Their knowledge is critical in ensuring the quality of the booklists for the Challenge. This panel consists of Fran Knight, Jane Toop, Jane Bassham, Nicole Dent, Mark Williams, Kaleen Raethel and Jodie Stephenson.

The booklists continue to be a very important part of the program, as evidenced by the website usage. The most accessed/popular pages are the home page and the booklist pages.

In 2019 there were 7,386 books on the booklists, including 246 new books added.

The website booklists allow students to ‘like’ books they have read. A live tally of student opinion of the books on the Challenge booklists is displayed and each booklist has a Top 10 Likes live tally. This is an excellent resource for students and teachers to see what readers are enjoying.

The booklist category STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) was used as the basis of a successful additional challenge within the Challenge.

Focus on literacy

The Challenge supports the department’s focus on improving literacy of all students by encouraging them to enjoy reading.

Teaching literacy is a core responsibility at all levels of schooling and is a thread that runs through the Early Years Learning framework (EYLF), the Australian Curriculum, and the SACE.

Literacy development at school is critical but what happens out of school is just as important. The Challenge supports parents to read with their children. There is a section for parents and families on the Challenge website with links to the Department for Education’s Great Start website.

Additional opportunities for students

The Challenge ran several competitions during 2019 to highlight particular issues and initiatives and to align with department and government priorities. These included the West Java Leader’s Reading Challenge, the STEM Reading Challenge and the the dramatisation of a PRC book.

Links with other agencies

Strong links were developed and maintained within the department and with other nations and agencies including the Government of West Java Province and Inspiring South Australia.

Reading medals were exchanged between West Java and South Australia and presented to students at the completion of their respective challenges.

In term 3, 2019 (including science focus month August), 1000 students submitted entries to the Inspire SA-supported STEM reading challenge. Inspire SA provided a range of science-related prizes to students and schools.

For more information on these initiatives and organisations, which are mutually supportive of reading and raising literacy levels, visit www.prc.sa.edu.au .

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Have a question about the Challenge?

Please email our Premier’s Reading Challenge mailbox or call for assistance. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Have a question about the Challenge?

Please email our Premier’s Reading Challenge mailbox or call for assistance. We look forward to hearing from you.