Our data collection in Victoria started with a visit to the chilly but wonderful Western Region. Obviously, for ethics reasons, we can’t identify the town or school, so the bucolic image of dam and rolling hills is my attempt to capture the feel of the day.


Many country schools service large regions, with hundreds of children coming in by bus every day from surrounding towns. The staff were very welcoming, and it’s wonderful to see the effect that passionate teachers can have, despite limited funds for literacy and other extension activities. The teens we talked to described some of the resources they use to find information about available reading material, including local bookshops and libraries, and even, in the case of one young man, a visit to a regional book event – though he wasn’t too sure whether it was going to change his established tastes.