A very special story time marked the start of an exciting new partnership between HBNC and Hervey Bay State High School.

We are grateful to HBSHS staff and students for donating $100 worth of books, to be used in our early childhood and family support programs.

The new partnership between HBNC and the school is supported by the Australian Literacy Educators Association.

Rose Whittingham, Head of English and Literacy at HBSHS, said the association provided the funding to encourage early years reading.

"We thought we’d make it a full partnership between HBNC, the high school and the national organisation," Ms Whittingham said.

The start of the partnership was marked by a special time of reading during Wednesday morning's Play With Your Kids playgroup.

HBSHS students sat with the children and parents for story time, sharing favourite books like Thelma the Unicorn.


Ms Whittingham explained the significance behind this story time.

"The group here are the Reading Links students from our school," she said.

"These are kids who were identified as lower level literacy when they joined in Year 7.

"They’re kids who can’t do grapheme phoneme awareness. That’s when they see a letter, they don’t necessarily know what the letter sounds like, or what letter combinations sound like.

"But, as you can see, they’re reading! They've come leaps and bounds since joining us."

Ms Whittingham said the school planned to make the book donation and story time a regular activity.

"We’re actually going to continue the partnership and every term, come and visit and read to the kids, so that younger kids know it’s important to read and our students have that feeling of success," she said.

Tracey Pauli, Play With Your Kids educator, said the new partnership would help build a lifelong love of reading.

"Reading is the building block for all learning," Tracey said.

"We never stop reading and we never stop learning through what we read.

"Reading helps the child expand and learn about their world. As they listen to words, they learn how to sound out words and distinguish sounds within words."

Tracey said reading also helped young children develop listening skills, concentration and communication skills.

If you would like to support ongoing learning and a love of reading in our schools, consider donating to Youth Mentoring.

You can support Play With Your Kids by coming along to our Quilt Show Fundraiser.

Ruth Huber (Bay Families Coordinator) with Rose Whittingham from Hervey Bay State High School.