It has been 25 years since the Principals of Parkes schools first joined together to launch an awareness-raising strategy to increase literacy skills from birth to Kindergarten. The Paint The Town REaD movement was developed in response to increased numbers of children entering Kindergarten without the literacy pre-skills or language, that set the foundation for learning to read.
This year Parkes has once again been painted red to celebrate Reading Day. Paint The Town REaD founder, Rhonda Brain said “It was very special because the continuation shows how much the wonderful Parkes community has embraced the Reading Day concept as a major strategy for spreading the vital necessity of having a language-rich environment right from birth, and celebrating literacy. When we celebrate something or someone we are declaring its/ their worth.”
The movement was originally founded on reseach conducted by Parkes Public School, in partnership with Charles Sturt University, on standards of literacy in Kindergarten to year two students. Research findings confirmed that language, especially rhyme and repetition, and book conventions in the years from birth to Kindergarten, were crucial for brain development and foundational to formal learning to read at school.
All Parkes school principals, preschool directors and midwives then set about to spread the word about the importance of reading, in a fun and creative, grand saturation of the community. Abundant research about brain development started being published by specialists, and educators in Parkes were greatly encouraged to know they were already on track. The movement, with its wisdom, creativity and multi-encompassing benefits has experienced incredible expansion. “This movement was/is a God-given idea,” concluded Rhonda.