Astronaut takes love of reading to infinity and beyond

Students get a buzz out of extraterrestrial visitor for storytime, writes Sophie Winton.

20 May 2021
A group of students are watching a whiteboard screen.
Image: Watch this space: North Sydney Public School students listen in as astronaut Dr Shannon Walker reads to them from the International Space Station.

The eagle landed at North Sydney Public School this week when an astronaut beamed in from outer space to read with some very lucky students.

North Sydney Public School students joined more than a million students from around the globe to take part in the annual National Simultaneous Storytime event, which included story time with an astronaut from the International Space Station.

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) hosts National Simultaneous Storytime each year.

The event is an engaging educational opportunity focused on the value of reading and literacy that features a picture book, written and illustrated by an Australian author and illustrator.

The same book is read by students in libraries, schools, preschools, childcare centres, family homes, bookshops and many other places around the country at the same time so children can enjoy reading for fun.

Now in its 21st year, this was the first time astronauts have read students stories from space.

North Sydney Public School students joined students for the event from more than 27 countries including Afghanistan, Cook Islands, Egypt, Japan, US and Vietnam.

“National Simultaneous Storytime is an annual, national event that we participate in to promote the enjoyment and fun of reading with our students,” North Sydney Public School principal Fiona Davis said.

“This year our students were particularly excited to have the book, Give Me Some Space! by Phillip Bunting read to them by astronaut, Dr Shannon Walker live from the International Space Station - what a treat!

“The students really enjoyed taking part in this worthwhile initiative. It was wonderful as an educator to be able to provide them with such a unique and unforgettable experience that they will remember for years to come.”

That’s one small step for North Sydney Public School, one giant leap for literacy!

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