The Paint the Town REaD puppet family celebrated three years this week, with events being held across the region at Bundaberg Central State School, Gin Gin State School and in Childers.
Since the hatching of the reading eggs which launched the new members of the Paint the Town REaD (PTTR) family in 2018, the program has continued to encourage reading, talking, singing, and rhyming with kids all over the region.
George the frog, baby turtles Rosie and Bubbles and twin crocodiles Snappy and Toothy all call the region home, becoming reading mascots for their respective towns.
Bundaberg Central State School Principal Mr Frank Nastasi said Rosie and Bubbles had been embraced by the students at the school and improved the student’s engagement with reading.
“Having Rosie and Bubbles available to read to has incentivised reading at our school is fantastic” Mr Nastasi said.
“We were first introduced to the turtles in 2019 when they moved into their temporary home in our school library and quickly became part of our school team of reading enthusiasts.
“Students from Prep through to Year 6 were excited to take turns reading to Rosie and Bubbles whenever they had the chance, with the mascots often leaving the library for classroom reading adventures such as story time and oral presentations.”
Paint the Town REaD is a national program developed with the aim of bringing a community approach to spending time with children and integrating a literacy culture.
The program acknowledges that more than 20 per cent of Australian children arrive at school without the skills necessary to make the most of their education.
“The mascots provided an extra layer of fun and imagination to such a valued life skill,” Mr Nastasi said.
“Reading is a priority here at Bundaberg Central State School, so engaging with the PTTR program supported our focus.
“Rosie and Bubbles also helped embed our First Nations People’s perspectives at our NAIDOC events.”
Bundaberg Regional Libraries youth librarian Jaala Beauchamp said the PTTR mascots are very loved, and she looks forward to more early childhood and school visits with the mascots.
“We have seen that the use of mascots has increased engagement with young children and fostered a positive relationship with reading,” Jaala said.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the community to bring the program to life and encourage reading in our youth.”
This program is important with studies having shown that a child’s ability to learn to read and write is set in the first five years – before school starts.
You can find out more about the Paint the Town REaD program here.