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www.mn.catholic.org.au Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
Newcastle City Farmers & Makers Market
(BROADMEADOW - Griffiths Rd entry please)
WHEN... Most Sundays
TIME...8.00am till 1.00pm
$2 parking fee applies on the Showground
Phone: 4930 5156
Mob: 0427 630 144
Newcastle City Farmers and Makers Market is the largest
farmers market in the Hunter Valley. Our gourmet food
producers have an amazing tasty array of foods to sample
You get to chat to the farmer, find out where your food is
made, how to cook it and even taste-test while you shop in
the pavilions and around the village green atmosphere of
Along with food you will find artisan stalls selling the
Hunter's best range of quality goods, from clothing made
from vintage material to potters, jewellery makers and
painters. Everything you need to feed, clothe or surprise
your family can be bought at the Newcastle City Farmers
and Makers Market and you know it's all been made with
• Hand-made craft artisans • Farmer direct produce • 140 Stalls per market • Organic Produce • Boutique Wineries • Bread, cheeses, meats
www.newcastlecityfarmersmarket.com.au - for information & Market dates
Upcoming Market Dates 2013:
July 7th, 14th & 21st
football, basketball, netball,
tennis... and after-school martial
art classes, dance lessons, gymnastics,
Scouts, Guides...as well as homework,
visits to Nanna, classmates' birthday parties,
family reunions, festivals and celebrations...
Modern children need their mobile
phones if only for the electronic diary
functions. Keeping track of their busy lives
is a challenge for even the most able and
So does reading books matter any more?
Do we have time for it? Where should we
rank it on our list of priorities for children?
As an author and English teacher, and
someone who has just read my fair share of
the Harry Potter series to our children, you
may be surprised by my answer.
I think literacy matters enormously. There
is almost no skill more important. To the
literate person, zillions of doors are open.
To the illiterate person, zillions of doors are
But that doesn't mean everybody should
read books. Of course there are wonderful
advantages to reading books. Reading
fiction helps develop empathy, helps
develop the imagination, gives a "feel" for
language, provides an escape from the
rigours of everyday life. Reading non-
fiction helps develop knowledge and skills.
Reading books of any kind helps children
But there are wonderful advantages
to surfing as well. Fitness, balance,
strength, co-ordination, and the ecstasy
of engaging at close quarters with the
wild, unpredictable, uncontrollable ocean.
There are wonderful advantages to playing
computer games, cooking, gardening,
making jewellery, trampolining...who is to
say that one activity is
superior to another?
If kids are literate, but
don't like reading, then
fine. As long as they
are engaged in one or more stimulating
activities, as long as they don't spend their
time slumped on a sofa watching TV and
eating chips, as long as they are expressing
themselves creatively, then we needn't be
too worried about them.
In other words, if they can read, but choose
not to, I'm okay with that.
I think it's important though to recognise
that there are degrees of literacy. Educators
use the term functional literacy, which is a
reading age of 10.0, and which supposedly
enables people to cope in our society.
It means that they can read directions,
street signs, letters from the bank, tabloid
newspapers, the four Gospels...but not
What educators never talk about is the
highest level of literacy, which I call Poetic
Literacy. Sometimes teachers, and parents,
are so busy teaching children the rules of
grammar, spelling, punctuation and syntax
that we forget why we are teaching them.
We teach the rules so that children are
empowered and enabled to break them! It's
like Charlie Parker said of jazz: "You learn
the notes and the chords
and the scales, and you
practise and practise them,
and then you throw that
crap away and just play."
We teach children the rules of language so
that they can use language as it is meant
to be used: creatively, flexibly, eloquently,
powerfully. (I don't think even JK Rowling
ever used four adverbs in a row!) We
want them to reach a level of language
sophistication such that they can write
sentences like "Terribly black, terribly scaly,
terribly knobbly, terribly horned, terribly hairy,
terribly clawed, terribly fanged, with vast
indescribably terrible eyes, each one as big
as Switzerland." (Ted Hughes, describing
a dragon.) "Off the main road and far from
money, the chop and scrape and chomp
of natural life continued." (Melissa Fay
Greene, describing a small southern USA
town in her book Praying for Sheetrock.)
"The heaventree of stars hung with humid
nightblue fruit." (James Joyce in Ulysses).
top to finger top." (Dr Seuss).
Or, to go to The Man himself:
"Thus conscience does make cowards of
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action..."
One of the great advantages of reading
books is that we are exposed to words and
sentences which come from places exotic,
even alien sometimes. We can step outside
the ghettos of our own language. This helps
us develop an instinct for language's infinite
So, for the joy of hearing language musically
expressed, for the rich satisfaction of being
able to distil complex thoughts and ideas
into intelligible words, for the ability to argue
a case, express a feeling, state an opinion,
or convey a sense of ourselves to others...
poetic literacy should be our goal for all!
So does reading books
matter any more?
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