Our 7th National Early Literacy Conference was an outstanding success, starting with a PreConference Symposium on 20 March lead by Curtin University early literacy experts, A/Prof Suze Leitao, Dr Mary Claessen and Dr Mark Boyes with Dyslexia Speld’s Mandy Nayton.
That was followed by a WA State Parliament Reception, hosted by the Hon Janine Freeman, with the Hon David Templeman theatrically launching the Paint Australia REaD Book Relay.
The Conference ‘proper’ got underway the following day, with Aunty Marie Taylor Welcoming us so warmly to Country, and WA’s Governor Kim Beasley opening the Conference. Dr Bret Hart, Colin Pettit – WA Commissioner for Children and Young People, Greg Mitchell and Barbie Bates were ‘just what the Doctor ordered’ for Keynote speakers.
And Workshops led by experts from around the country, kept delegates inspired and involved.
No sooner than the Conference finished, did the Relay begin. After a week in the SW and Perth, it is now heading east. Keep track of it on Facebook – Paint the Town REaD!
Thank you to the 1000s of people across Australia who have grown the PTTR movement through 2018 – Aboriginal Elders who lead their local PTTRB&Y communities, volunteer readers in shopping centres, emergency services staff and local businesses who take the time to share books and stories with children, librarians, primary and high school students who read to their baby brothers and sisters, child and family workers who incorporate early literacy into everything they do, the incredible PTTR local co-ordinators who somehow find the time to do amazing things, generous probono workers like Lifeline who have supplied us with over 1000 books this year, Good360 and Men Sheds, the AMP Foundation, the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation, PRRR and many more. You have all helped a child discover the thrill of books and language.
Paint the Town Read Ltd turned 5 yesterday. We wish to thank everyone who has helped us with their time, wisdom, enthusiasm, probono support, humour and money.
The Board is thrilled that now 78 communities across Australia – from Pannawonica to the Pacific, from Cairns to Casterton, are working to engage everyone to read, talk, sing, rhyme and draw with their babies from birth, so that they will be ready for learning at school.
And there is no better way to celebrate than to invite you all to attend our 7th National Early Literacy Conference in Perth 20 -22 March 2019.
The theme is Books and Bonding Build Brains – that’s what the (Fremantle) Doctor Orders.
This NAIDOC Week 2018, we remember, pay our respects to and thank the many many Aunties, colleagues and friends who have directed the building of Paint the Town READ, Black and Yellow across Australia. Thank you for your wisdom, love, forgiveness, laughter and patience as you have led and taught your non-Indigenous friends, for the sake of your children and grandchildren.
Follow us on Facebook this week as we reflect on and thank a representative group of these women from across Australia.
Many years ago, I was principal of a country school. It bothered me that too many of our children had trouble learning to read and write. It bothered me into action.
In my school we made a huge effort. Best practice. It was a blitz. With great results, right?
Well, no. We had results, but they were not great. For all our efforts, the results were — as a teacher I hate admitting this — disappointing. This got me thinking. Are some children just doomed? Or were we missing something? I looked wider. What I found changed everything.
Study after study showed that a child’s ability to learn to read and write at school is set in the first five years of life. The first three years, in fact. School was too late. And what’s needed in those early years? Simple. Yet I could see that it wasn’t happening in many families.
Spend time with children every day, from birth — talking, singing, rhyming, reading — and you’ll prepare them to read and write at school. It’s from this insight that Paint the Town REaD was born.
‘Painting the town red’ carries the notion of celebration, of ‘doing’ the town, of saturating it with excitement and enthusiasm. That’s the literacy culture we want to generate. We pull together community groups, agencies and businesses, and we inspire them to integrate this culture into everything they do with (and as) families. And to keep inventing the most fun and creative ways to do so.
It’s a growing, nationwide network of people whose influence can change thousands of lives, long term.
Michelle Calderbank was presented with WA’s Shire of Yilgarn Australia Day Active Citizenship Award for her significant contribution to supporting the Yilgarn community.
Michelle set up Paint the Yligarn REaD in her own time to provide the next generation of children in Southern Cross with the best possible chance to reach their potential. Michelle is a high school English teacher and witnesses firsthand the significant challenges for young people when they have not had the important early literacy foundational experiences. A long-time resident in Southern Cross, Michelle had the connections and the respect in the community to engage everyone in supporting and spreading the PTTR message. And this included her high school students who eagerly took on the catering role at the launch event, and gained catering qualifications in the process.
Michelle has a number of other voluntary roles in the community such as running the Young Entertainers program for the past 12 years and active involvement in sporting clubs.
Paint the Town REaD groups across Australia are off and running, and especially Librarians, who are including children under school age in their Summer Reading Challenges at their local libraries. It’s a great way to give children starting school that final boost, and for younger children to model from older siblings is always a super opportunity. And you might even bump into your local PTTR mascot there as well.
Thank you to everyone who has made this year so special by increasing the opportunities for children to enjoy the wonder of being read and sung with.
From our amazing local community groups – now 50+ over five Australian states, through to funders like the St George Foundation, the AMP Foundation, the Eureka Foundation, the Commonwealth Bank, private donors and the many many probono supporters.
Here are two of them – wonderful woman, Roxanne Kiely (song writer) and Anne Donnelly (author). Roxanne, ran a Songwriting Workshop for Early Educators in Paint Cumberland REaD NSW, and Anne visited a combined playgroup in Mt Druitt NSW, where she grew up, to encourage young mums to reach for the stars.
Today we celebrate and remember the importance of National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day.
Thank you to the many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Aunties and Uncles and workers from across Australia, who are leading us to Paint Australia REaD, Black and Yellow so that our children will arrive at school loving books and ready to learn.
Tracey and Charlie from NSW’s Paint Shoalhaven REaD, Black and Yellow with Karrak, Paint Kwinana REaD WA’s black cockatoo Mascot. Karrak is holding Shoalhaven’s magical reading egg.