Paint the Town REaD visits Ceduna and Wudinna

Young children at Ceduna and Wudinna were treated to a special visit last week as the Paint the Town REaD book relay team passed through during their cross-country trip.

Rhonda Brain, Barbie Bates and Hugh Todd have been travelling from Perth on their way to Wollongong in a little red car to promote the importance of reading to children from birth to assist their development.

Drawing inspiration from the Olympic torch relay, the group began at the Western Australian Parliament and are heading to the New South Wales coast, bringing along a torch of their own and accumulating a book of signatures to present to relay patron Lady Lynne Cosgrove.

The team visited Ceduna Area School on Tuesday and then Wudinna Area School on Wednesday.

Ms Bates said the trip was one of "awareness raising" about the importance of reading or reminding communities to maintain reading levels.

"Twenty per cent of Australian children arrive at school not ready with their reading and no matter how good the teaching, if they don't have the fundamental skills they can fall behind," she said.

"The aim is to have kids who have a love of books."

She said the Ceduna and Wudinna communities were getting the message.

"The visit was brilliant, they are wonderful communities in Ceduna and Wudinna with enthusiastic kids, teachers and librarians, who were keen to hear the message and continue with it," Ms Bates said.

"The kids there got the message, but it is also about coming back and revisiting the message."

Students starting from kindergarten wore red to welcome the team, who introduced them to the 'Reading Bug'.

After the torch was introduced by Sienna Zippel, the Reading Bug got Ceduna Area School principal Andrew Gravestocks to read the children a book, before the children were engaged in a series of fun exercises, including a relay event.

Meralyn Stevens of the Ceduna School Community Library said it was great to have Ceduna involved in the group's message.

"This was a celebration of reading and a chance to promote the importance of reading," she said.

"They want people to know the importance of reading to babies - it has to happen before they start school.

"The group was really happy with their visit here."

At Wudinna, Huw Dolphin carried in the torch and Carol Cummings led the children in reading.

The relay will reach its final destination on May 22, concluding in a Simultaneous Storytime event where towns along the route can join in.