School Connects with Authors for Literacy


School connects with Authors for literacy, naming class 5/6 Tyrrell after me, Karen Tyrrell author. I’m so buzzed and humbled that a primary school chose me to be part of a powerful strategy.

Principal of Fairvale Public School hopes class 5/6 Tyrrell will “fall in love” with me as an author, my books, my characters and my settings.

Anthony Pitt, principal wants to reinvent children’s love of books and authors, improve literacy levels and the number of books borrowed from the school library. He hopes to achieve this by connecting children directly with Australian authors.

Anthony and I enjoy a special connection already, with me having taught Anthony as his Kindergarten teacher. (Please don’t do the maths, lol) In 2014, he searched for me via Facebook.

In 2015, Anthony  presented interactive Author talks to Fairvale Public School wearing my Super Space Kids costume sharing my children’s books.

Super Space Kid Captain Astra

Karen Tyrrell performing her author talk at Fairvale Public School

In 2016, I was key-note speaker at Anthony’s Sydney West Resilience & Well-Being Conference. I’m a survivor of parent teacher bullying and PTSD.  I presented the opening power-point talk, two interactive well-being workshops and spoke on the psychology panel.


Sydney  Resilience & Well-being Conference

In 2017, I will connect with Class 5/6 Tyrrell as their author. This poster, about me Karen Tyrrell author is displayed in their classroom. I love the Oz Author quote in the left corner “Putting Australian Talent in the Spotlight.”

5 6 TyrrellV2I interviewed Anthony Pitt on his initiative …

Q. How does your school connect with authors?

A. All our classes are named after an Australian author so children can study an author and their books in-depth. Where possible, classes may connect their author using social media.

Reason for authors: I want kids to fall in ‘love’ with authors; the characters and settings they create etc. I want kids to be able to talk about Aussie authors.

 Q. What literacy programs are in your school?

Literacy is a big part of the day in all our classrooms with 2 literacy programs at our school. We have L3 (Language, Learning and Literacy) in K-2 classrooms and Focus on Reading in 3-6 classrooms. Both literacy programs focus on understanding texts as a reader and understanding why the author chose a particular setting, character, ending etc.

Q. Who are the authors involved? … How did you select them?

We have 25 authors. I believe it is important to acknowledge home-grown talent, so all of our authors (well there’s a few exceptions) are Australian. We have a diverse group – many are well-known, some are fairly new and we have a few that have been writing books for a really long time. Our school librarian, Mrs Orwin, was of great assistance. She collated a list of authors and books available in the school library to borrow.

Authors include Jackie French, Leigh Hobbs, Shaun Tan, Roland Harvey, Emily Rodda, Sally Morgan, Paul Jennings, Colin Thiele, Anh Do, Bronwyn Bancroft and MANY more . 🙂


Anthony Pitt, Principal, me … and teacher David Kinniburgh who I taught as well.

Q. How will authors and students connect to improve literacy?

I think this will be up to each classroom teacher. I also think the children will really enjoy learning more about their author and the books they have written. Hopefully this gives the children are real purpose during reading and writing lessons.

Q. What do you hope to achieve?

That all children will connect with at least one Australian author. Wouldn’t it be great if by the end of 2017, 635 children have a connection with their chosen author?

More importantly, it might instill a new love of literature and encourage children to find out more about their author and many others too.

school 4B

In 2015, I met Class 4B and Miss Jojic in person and communicated on their web page.

What are the merits of this “school connection with authors” initiative?

 Would your school connect with Authors ?

Thanks for dropping by …

Please comment, LIKE, share, tweet and google plus. 🙂


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4 comments to School Connects with Authors for Literacy

  • This is brilliant! What a fantastic initiative. Congratulations, Karen. I’m sure that you will be an incredible inspiration to the children in your class.

  • Thanks so much Megan for your kind congratulations !
    I’m awfully excited about this new program. I can’t wait to MEET my class and connect with them in a real way.
    Please add this initiative to your school survey on literacy and reading.
    Many Thanks,
    Karen 🙂

  • What a fabulous idea. You must have made some impact on Anthony when you taught him in kindergarten. How wonderful. You are in great company with all those authors, Karen, and it gives you well-deserved recognition.How wonderful to have a school so focused on literacy, and connecting with real authors must make it so much more meaningful for students. At the end of 2017 they will have connected with one author. At the end of six years of schooling, they will have connected with six. Way to go! Congratulations on being chosen as class author. Please pass my congratulations on to Anthony for implementing such a powerful strategy.

  • Hi Norah,
    Thanks so much for recognizing the impact I had on Anthony in Kindergarten.Three years ago, he connected me via Facebook, searching for his “favourite” teacher. Since then, I’ve had a close connection with his Sydney school presenting Author talks to both his students and staff. Anthony, himself, is a real innovator and I support his school programs … Cheers, Karen 🙂

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