Kids make child's play of getting name in print

At just six and seven years old, James Donsante, Tahlia Sharrock and Lucas Mihalopoulos are the proud new authors of their very own picture books.

Armed with disposable cameras, the three children - and the rest of their year 1 class at St Patrick's Catholic Primary School in Port Kembla - snapped away at games of hopscotch, the school library, as well as their classroom and friends to create stories about their favourite activities at school.

"One of the things I wrote about was the library, which is really fun because I get to read fun books," James said.

"So it feels really good to make my own book."

Done in partnership with first-year education students from the University of Wollongong (UOW) over just three weeks, the photobook project was designed to improve the children's reading and writing skills as well as get them to tell stories about their community.

UOW senior literacy lecturer Dr Barbra McKenzie, who came up with the idea, said the program had been beneficial for all the students - both year 1 and first-year university - involved.

"It's really important for children to feel empowered by their writing and unfortunately we don't really give them much opportunity to write," she said.

"As far as the university students are concerned, it's a win-win situation because I've now got [future teachers] who have already been in a classroom."

St Patrick's is a federal government National Partnerships school and Ms McKenzie said the photobook project would be easy to replicate for students of any age and ability.

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