Old MacDonald leads to pre-schooler's win

An interest in farm equipment and animals helped Waikato pre-schooler Jett Wait win first prize in Book Night, our annual nationwide reading event for all ages.

The 3-year old from Pirongia, located about half an hour south of Hamilton, won the under-16 years category and received $75 in book vouchers. Jett's mother, Lisa-Marie, nominated Pirongia Playcentre to receive the other part of the prize: $100 in book vouchers. Jett attends the playcentre three days a week.

"I showed Jett [on the Book Night website] that kids around New Zealand were reading books and I said 'go and choose your favourite book'," says Lisa-Marie, a part-time social worker at Hamilton hospital.

"He chose Old MacDonald Had a Farm so we read that together," she says.

Te Awamutu BDS member Margaret Mansell, convenor of TEAWA 006, agreed to represent BDS and prize sponsor Chreos Business Solutions and travel across to Pirongia to award the prizes.

More than 2100 readers of all ages, from Northland to Stewart Island, joined in the May event, run by BDS. 

Jett's one-year old brother Rocco joined him in the event, leaving little time for mum to do much reading of her own.

"We've got heaps of books; we really love reading...but, as I was saying to my husband on the night, I haven't finished a book in such a long time," says Lisa Marie.

"For me, reading's relaxation. For the boys, it's education; it's around word identification, identifying things in the pictures and building their interest. Their books centre round diggers and tractors and farms!" she says.

BDS adopted the Book Night concept from the UK three years and uses it as a platform to promote reading and its benefits. More than 30 schools, libraries and other organisations ran associated activities this year.

"Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child's future success, so I'm thrilled that Jett and his brother are being encouraged in the habit," says the manager of Book Discussion Scheme, Barbara Brown.

"We know from research that regular reading is a key way to improve children's abilities. It's also been shown to reduce stress and to maintain brain function in older people," she says.

Super hero reader:
Book Night under-16 years winner Jett Wait (centre), from Pirongia, holds on to the $75 book voucher prize he received from local book-group member Margaret Mansell (pictured right) on behalf of Book Discussion Scheme and prize sponsor Chreos Business Solutions. With them is Pirongia Playschool representative Mikki McLeod (far left) and Jett's mum Lisa-Marie; the centre was nominated to receive $100 in vouchers.

Photo courtesy of Lisa-Marie Wait.

The Book Discussion 
Scheme is a member of the Federation of Workers Educational Associations in Aotearoa New Zealand
BDS is a member of the Federation of Workers Educational Associations