Literacy is such an important part of our everyday lives, so let’s foster a love of reading and writing by participating in this year’s National Simultaneous Storytime on 25 May.

This event is run each year by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) to promote the value of reading and literacy. Schools, libraries, childcare centres and other children’s facilities will read this year’s picture book simultaneously all over the country and the world. It’s a campaign that we truly value so join us in celebrating this day!

National Simultaneous Storytime 2022

This year’s Australian picture book is Family Tree written by Josh Pyke and beautifully illustrated by Ronojoy Ghosh.

It’s a lovely story that celebrates life, belonging and diversity; providing some great themes to explore with your students in the classroom. Therefore, we’ve created a list of activities to help!

So don’t forget to grab a copy of Family Tree to read with your students on 25 May, then use any of these Seven Steps resources below to create a fun and engaging lesson (or a whole week’s worth!).

National Simultaneous Storytime 2022 banner

5 activities for National Simultaneous Storytime

1. Family Tree plotted on the Narrative Story Graph

STEP Step 1: Plan for Success
RESOURCE TYPE Story graphs

Demonstrate how this picture book follows the basic narrative structure using the Seven Steps Narrative Story Graph. Does it have a Sizzling Start and an Exciting Ending?

Activities for National Simultaneous Storytime. Family Tree plotted on the Story Graph.

Different Interpretations

Challenge more advanced students to plot Family Tree on the blank Narrative Story Graph template and compare it with the version above. As a class, discuss the different interpretations of Family Tree.

Want more story graphs?

There are lots of other story graph collections and lists of exemplars on Teacher Hub.  Here is another one to try:  Story Graphs – Books about Families

Want to explore the theme of Belonging at different year levels?
Use these: Exemplars by Year Level – Belonging


2. Borrowing Beginnings

STEP Step 2: Sizzling Starts
RESOURCE TYPE Action Activity

Teacher Hub members: Add this Action Activity to your Classroom Planner here.

Narrative writing Action Activity for National Simultaneous Storytime

Read out the first line of the book: ‘It started with a seed, and that seed was me.’

As a class or in small groups, brainstorm ideas for a Sizzling Start based on this line.

3. Working Backwards

STEP Step 7: Exciting Endings
RESOURCE TYPE Action Activity

Teacher Hub members: Add this Action Activity to your Classroom Planner here.

Persuasive writing action activity

Get students to work backwards from the closing line of the book to plan a story about their own family: ‘It started with a seed, and that seed was me.’ 

Students work together to brainstorm ideas, then plot the outline of their story on the graph.

Once students have completed their plans, ask them to write just the Exciting Ending (including a character wrap-up/emotional resolution) based on their plan.

You can find other narrative writing activities in the Narrative Writing Manual and on Teacher Hub.

4. Breaking Down Biographies

STEP Step 1: Plan for Success
RESOURCE TYPE Action Activity

Ask students to interview a family member using the questions below:

  • When and where were you born?
  • What are three exciting things that happened in the last year?
  • What is one of the most memorable things that’s ever happened to you?
  • What do people say you are good at?
  • What do you want to be when you grow up?

Get students to select the most interesting information from the interview and then plan a short biography. 

You can find other informative writing activities in the Informative Writing Manual and on Teacher Hub.

5. Branching Out

STEP Step 5: Show, Don’t Tell
RESOURCE TYPE Writing Prompt

Use this visual writing prompt to get students’ creative juices flowing.

Get students to work in groups and imagine that they are a tree. They brainstorm what they might see, hear, touch, taste, smell and feel.

Using the ideas from the group brainstorm, ask students to write a ‘show’ scene from the perspective of the tree.

We have lots more free visual writing prompts here:

Narrative Writing Prompts | Informative Writing Prompts | Persuasive Writing Prompts

Teacher Hub members: Your writing prompts include activities and thinking questions – search for ‘writing prompt’ in the Resource Library.