School Journals

While Michael King was able to trace a widely held misbelief about the discovery of New Zealand back to a School Journal publication I want to draw your attention to this amazing resource and to explain why they have actually done much more good than harm.

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It was first published on May 9th 1907 and was the first schoolbook for New Zealand children published in their own country. It was created by the Inspector-General of Schools George Hogben and included articles about History, Geography and Civics. It is published four times a year and is possibly the longest-running serial publication for children in the world.

Its readership is children from ages 7 – 13. It is a powerful thing as a reader to see yourself and your life in the text you are reading. As a librarian, I try very hard to select books for my students that enable them to see themselves on our shelves. That means buying books from around the world, trying to source award-winning writers from the countries represented by my students both translated into English (the language of tuition in our school) and in their own languages.

The thing I appreciate about the Journals was that many great writers contributed to it, especially when the subject material expanded to include poetry, short stories plays and feature articles. As a child, I was reading the works of Rita Angus, James K. Baxter, Alistair Campbell, Russell Clark, Jack Lasenby, and many other greats, written especially for me and my schoolmates.

You can access the School Journal through The New Zealand Ministry of Education Literacy online website. You can search for specific writers or topics. Here is Glenn Colquhoun’s poem “Barney Whiterats” was published in the  School Journal Level 3 October 2015. There are many resources which are freely shared to contribute to the development of literacy for New Zealand children.

It is now published by a private company called “Lift Education” and has been aligned with the New Zealand Curriculum.

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Amanda Bond is a New Zealand ex-pat currently working as Teacher Librarian in an international school in Istanbul, Turkey. Her twitter handle is @kiwionthego

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