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Got the need to read?

Sep 12, 2023

From 10am on Wednesday, children aged 0-5 years of age and their grown-ups are welcome to North Richmond Community Centre for a free “Paint Hawkesbury REaD” event

Rosalind Chia Davis

For young families, 33 William Street is the place to be on Wednesday from 10am, with the focus squarely on raising awareness for the importance of reading, singing, rhyming, talking and playing with children in their earliest years.

Birgit Walter of North Richmond Community Centre says the “Party with Puddles” event will feature free stalls with books and other giveaways, and free morning tea, as well as stories, music, art, craft,
and representatives from local services. Attendees are encouraged to come dressed up as characters from their favourite books, or simply wear the colour red to show their support for the awareness

“Research shows that children who have had access to daily reading, rhyming and singing come to school with a better vocabulary, and better skills in many areas, including social behaviours,” says Birgit. “Sometimes parents are too busy, or don’t realise the importance of these activities. They may also think they don’t have the skills to, for example, sing with their child. All the ‘preliteracy habits’ are being formed long before children get to school, so our Reading Days and Parties with Puddles are designed to raise awareness of the importance of these activities in early childhood.” Puddles – a Reading River Dragon – is the mascot for “Paint Hawkesbury REaD”, one of over 100 community groups to have sprung from a charity named Paint the Town REaD. The initiative was
established by Rhonda Brain, a Parkes school principal whose passion for early childhood literacy drove her to start up the project with six other principals. It has since successfully spread to
communities across Australia.

Nine year-old Kurrajong local, NSW Premier’s Spelling Bee finalist Jamie C, encourages local children to pick up a book regularly. She says she benefits from books in ways which can’t be found in screen-based activities.

“The reason you should read a lot is because it may help you to do well in other life situations, and when you grow up and do things like uni,” she says. “What gets me about reading is just exploring
the kinds of imaginations people have. There’s non-fictional books or fictional books… there’s a book for everyone. You may find that a game is a good way to escape sometimes, but a book is a better
way to do that. Reading just makes me happy.”

Party with Puddles
10:00 – 12:00, Wednesday 13 September 2023
North Richmond Community Centre
33 William Street, North Richmond

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