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Campfire Stories

Date Published: 08/02/2021

This week we welcome students from Year 7 -9 back to our Campfire sessions in the iCentre. These are among our most popular programs in the iCentre and we are very much looking forward to welcoming our 2021 classes.

What is Campfire?

Campfire is the literature promotion program at Mt Alvernia College.  Just like a traditional campfire – stories are the focus of this program. During Campfire, great books are recommended to students and they borrow and read for enjoyment.

Why is Campfire important and why do we insist young people must keep on reading books?

If you conduct a literature review on the research into reading books you will discover that reading makes us smarter and helps promote success in life.  Such a review was undertaken by Mol & Bus in 2011. They interrogated 99 studies that focused on leisure time reading concluding that there is scientific support for the belief that frequent print exposure through reading books has a strong correlation to academic success, oral language development and general knowledge. Further to this, other researchers have concluded that reading has social and career benefits and positive impacts on wellbeing (Brozo, Shiel & Topping, 2007, Centre for Youth Literature, 2009, Daley, 2019, Merga, 2019, Miller & Kelley, 2014, Whitten, Labby, & Sullivan, 2016,).  Meta-studies, longitudinal studies, national and international studies all conclude that positive correlations can be drawn between reading for leisure and life success. 

Image: public domain

Examples of these conclusions include:

Academic achievement

When examining the associations between print exposure and academic achievement, measured by IQ scores, grade point average, college testing scores and Scholastic Assessment Test Scores, researchers found that readers are more successful students at all ages (Mol & Bus, 2011).

The OECD found that on “average, students who read daily for enjoyment score the equivalent of one-and-a-half years of schooling better than those who do not.” (OECD, 2011, p.2).

In 2000, PISA found evidence that engagement in reading had a significantly positive impact on academic performance and can “compensate” for low family income and parents’ limited educational background (Kirsch et al., p. 119).

A British longitudinal study found that reading behaviour is strongly linked to test scores in maths, spelling and vocabulary (Sullivan & Brown, 2013, p.37).

Brain health

Merga quotes a number of studies that demonstrate reading is good for our brains, including building resistance to cognitive issues, such as dementia in old age, and longevity (2019, p.7).

Preparedness for work

Data from the International Adult Literacy Survey shows connections between literacy and work opportunities.  Higher literacy equated to increases in people’s ability to secure employment, participate in adult education and training, and earn higher incomes (OECD, 2002, p.162).


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