5B has a priority list in class – a list that clearly sets out what is important in life and study. And reading tops that list. So, it was no surprise that Year 5B students agreed to an ambitious reading target at the beginning of the year. The target: to read 20 million words by the end of Term Four. At the time of writing this letter, 5B was nearing 18 million words. This amounts to a staggering total of 695 books … and we’re still going strong!

To keep this target on track, 5B faced two mini targets. The first was the Autumn Holiday Reading Challenge, which saw students read a remarkable 4 million words – in their own time during their first holiday of the year. The second was the Winter Holiday Reading Challenge, which accumulated a fabulous 2 million words – again, all in their own time during the second holiday. This dedication has been a pleasure to observe, and one which will leave these students with a set of impressive reading skills … and hours of pleasurable memories experienced in the world of the stories they have read.

Included in this huge display of personal reading, 5B have found time to read several fantastic class novels too, which have included The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Holes, Finding Gobi (our first non-fiction book), Wonder, Paper Planes, Wolf Brother, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, The Adventures of Tintin and Artemis Fowl.

Their conquests on the academic front have also included several fantastic awards in Mathematics. As part of the Matific Maths Games, a Maths competition across Australia and New Zealand, 5B came first in Australia in the Year 5 category. This included six students from 5B securing a placing in the Top Ten Leader Board in Australia. Although this placing was the third overall in their category, 5B’s final score was the third-highest of the entire competition.

5B also won Top Class, an internal Maths competition. 5B’s average score placed them well in the lead from the onset, which they held confidently throughout the competition.

Another highlight of the year was 5B’s Assembly Presentation, which was centred on the true story of a young boy in Uganda, who had a massive influence on his family and village after becoming a Christian. Students in the assembly were then challenged to follow in his footsteps by sharing the same wonderful news with others at home – news about a Saviour who, out of love, died for us, making a way for us to be made right with God – to be made righteous. This surely is the most important lesson in life to learn: that God made the One who did not know sin to be sin so that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).

So back to our classroom priority list – there is one line that has stood above the importance of reading (… or Maths … or writing). Our relationship with God and keeping it right must come first in all we do. As the International Children’s Bible puts Matthew 6:33: The thing you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what God wants. Then all these other things will be given to you.