Visitors to Churton School will find things very quiet if they should drop by after morning tea when pupils, the principal, teachers and support staff all have their noses buried in books.

It is an established practice at the school, introduced around four years ago to encourage reading for pleasure.

Churton principal Andrew Spence said the practice was about encouraging children to see reading as an enjoyable pastime and not something they had to do.

"We all stop for 15 to 20 minutes at the same time of day and pick up our books," he said.


Teacher Cara Davidson, who instigated the practice, said it provided children with the opportunity to self-select the text they wanted to read.

"The junior classes who are too young to read independently can work with a buddy to talk about the books they are looking at," she said.

Staff read at the same time to model the practice, and Mrs Davidson said everyone had come to really enjoy the time.

"We encourage visitors to join in as well and the postie comments on how nice and quiet it is if she delivers the mail while we are reading."

A group of young readers in the school library spoke enthusiastically about the books they were reading, except for Heidi Lane who recently turned 5 and started last term.

Heidi did not have much to say but her older brother Karlos, who is 8, explained that she is "quite shy with new people" and Heidi was happy to show the book she has been reading, Takahe Lost and Found.

Karlos was reading a book named Kiss Kiss Yuck! Yuck! which he said was just the right length to read during the allocated time.

"I don't think kissing is yuck, really - it depends on the situation," he said. "I love reading and I really like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books."

Quinn Hutchings, 10, said she liked reading chapter books and really enjoyed The 26-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths.

"I really like it when the authors put themselves in their stories," she said.

Blaydon McDonald, 10, said he is the "best reader in the school" and thinks the designated reading time at Churton School has been very good for him. "I wasn't much of a reader at my other school and I really enjoy it now."

Blaydon said he also enjoys reading Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and has also bought some limited-edition books from his cousin.