As part of a heart-warming initiative to foster a lifelong love of reading in young minds, Tanya Stevenson, CEO of HBNC, teamed up with Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour to bring joy and literacy to Year 1 students at Sandy Strait State School on April 16th, 2024.

This special event saw the pair delivering Read Bears - cuddly companions designed to inspire children to dive into the wonderful world of books.

The Read Bears initiative, spearheaded by HBNC, aims to instil a passion for reading from an early age, nurturing imagination and curiosity in young readers.

With a mission to spread the joy of reading far and wide, Tanya Stevenson expressed her excitement about the school visit.

"We were thrilled to team up with Cr Seymour to deliver these adorable Read Bears to the eager young minds at Sandy Strait State School,” Tanya said.

“By combining the magic of reading with the comfort of a cuddly companion, we hope to ignite a love for reading that will accompany these students throughout their lives.”

Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour said the Council was proud to partner with HBNC for the Read Bears initiative in 2024, with a donation of 600 books ensuring that local students would again receive a new book alongside their cuddly new friend.

“We are delighted to be able to support this wonderful initiative of the HBNC, which we feel is an extension of our First 5 Forever program highlighting the importance of talking, reading, singing and playing with your child every day,” he said.

“It’s important parents and carers continue to recognise the importance of early literacy, even when their little ones begin school, with the next stage of learning being to read independently. 

“Reading independently and the ability to read out loud has been proven to improve children's language skills and self-confidence.”

Cr Seymour encouraged local residents of all ages to become Fraser Coast Libraries members to take advantage of the range of wonderful free resources to support a lifelong love for learning and literacy. 

The Read Bears initiative has been gaining momentum since its inception, with testimonials pouring in from educators and parents alike about the positive impact these literary companions have on children's reading habits.

For more information about the Read Bears initiative and how you can get involved, visit the Read Bears webpage.