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.
ALIA’s National Simultaneous Storytime is a tremendous annual initiative, which Paint the Town REaD communities celebrated across Australia.
Aunty Booka – the mascot for Paint the Booka REaD hatched last Friday. She had a great time at her birthday party, as she was read to by the Mayor of Wanneroo, Tracey Roberts, Cr David Boothman from the City of Stirling, Margaret Quick, the member for Girraween and Janine Freeman, the member for Mirrabooka plus lots and lots of children.
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.
Will you join us?
Rhonda Brain, OAM
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.
Congratulations Michelle – a great PTTR Champion.
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.
Paint the Town REaD is proud to announce the births of four new mascots over the past four weeks: Berky the Brush Turkey, Paint Mackay REaD (Qld), Parker the Platypus, Paint the Central Coast REaD (NSW), Agi the Red Tailed Black Cockatoo, Paint Shoalhaven REaD, Black and Yellow (NSW) and Lizzie the Lizard, Paint the Westside REaD (SA).
Paint Doonside Read, whose partners include Wentwest’s Thrive@5, Relationships Australia, Crawford Public School, Community Health’s Child and Family Nurses, Blacktown City Libraries and Dr Michael Fasher, launched their Books for Babies project this month. Nursing staff, who have received training from PTTR Ltd, and Blacktown Library about the whys and hows of reading with your baby from birth, will be sharing books and information with all new babies born in Doonside this year – and their families!
The books were purchased from generous donations by the The Funding Network and the AMP Foundation. Thank you!
And for a completely serendipitous moment, See Me Move – the main book to be given to babies, is written by Sascha Hutchinson, a champion in one of our newest communities, Paint the Westside REaD, in Adelaide.