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Teleport yourself this summer through reading

Alan Dingley redefines reading from being a quiet, solitude activity to one of performance, excitement and imagination at the Manawatū District Libraries Holiday Programme.

Alan Dingley is the Te Awhi Rito New Zealand Reading Ambassador.  His advocacy for lifelong reading is a fundamental message across each presentation.  “With many children’s books being a gateway to inspiration, big feelings, and values-based messages, books can act as either a mirror to see yourself in, or a doorway to help transport you to another place”,  Dingley says.

Mr Dingley joined the Manawatū District Libraries free summer holiday programme on Monday 15 January to present to a mixed aged audience.  His presentation redefined reading from being a quiet, solitude activity to one of performance, excitement and imagination as attending families were introduced to new stories and characters narrated through his changing voices and expressions.  When it came time for an imaginative story to be created through audience input, it was evident that the connection of trust and admiration had already formed as children eagerly wanted to add their part to the ever-growing tale of animals escaping the zoo.

“Reading out loud to a child at a young age helps to build a stronger connection between guardian and child. It helps to instil lifelong learning and leads to the development of conversation, questions and inquisition”, Adie Johansen, Community Services Manager explains.  “It’s easy to default to say, ‘I’m not a reader’ or ‘I don’t have time to read’ but the reality is we read every day whether it’s a book, social feed or building plan.”

While Dingley’s programme is often presented to children, he encourages adults to read without fear of judgement.  “Pick up a children’s book to rediscover a lighter side of reading.  And remember, if you don’t like the book, you don’t have to finish it.  Find a book you love and lose yourself in each page.”

The Manawatū District Libraries Free Summer Holiday Programme continues until Friday 26 January. Check out what’s on by visiting: School Holiday Fun | Manawatū District Libraries (