Local artists and community group paint Geraldton read

Headshot of Lisa Favazzo
Lisa FavazzoGeraldton Guardian
Artists Shah Jackey and Kyra Johnson.
Camera IconArtists Shah Jackey and Kyra Johnson. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian

A community group has painted a Rainbow Serpent and Where’s Wally on its paving as part of an initiative, launched on Tuesday, to ensure Geraldton youngsters get the best possible start.

Ngala Aboriginal project officer Jaquie Taylor has helped bring Paint the Town REaD to Geraldton’s parents and children, and she is passionate about helping kids communicate.

“The more you read (and) the more you talk, they will learn language and the importance of speech, and also being creative and imaginative with stories,” Ms Taylor said.

She said the program would help encourage children to find reading fun, adding that storytelling had a strong cultural significance for Aboriginal people, further cementing her dedication to its execution.

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The national youth literacy program has been helping get youngsters into books since 1998, with the Geraldton chapter including an interactive pathway designed by local artists Shah Jackey and Kyra Johnson.

Ms Johnson said she had a lot of fun working on her brightly coloured artwork.

Autry Chapman,9, Rhys Chapman, 9, and Jaxon Ryan, 10.
Camera IconAutry Chapman,9, Rhys Chapman, 9, and Jaxon Ryan, 10. Credit: Supplied

Her cousin Jackson Ryan, 10, and nephews Autry Chapman, 9, and Rhys Chapman, 10, provided company, assistance and little handprints to help put together the captivating piece.

At Tuesday’s launch, attending families had the chance to walk the path, take part in a range of creative activities, and enjoy a spread of homemade food.

A group of girls from Champion Bay High School also attended to help with activities and join in the fun.

Murals painted at Ngala for Paint the Town REaD.
Camera IconMurals painted at Ngala for Paint the Town REaD. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian

Ngala executive manager of operations Jenny Allen attended the event with her grandchildren, spending much of the day read-ing books and enjoying the company.

She encouraged parents to read to their children before they were even born, saying babies in the womb could hear from 26 weeks gestation.

“Make sure reading becomes a critical part of what you do with your children,” she said.

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