darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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January 19, 2010

Two local politicians were put in front of one of the toughest crowds the Latrobe Valley has to offer when they were called upon to read their favourite childhood story at The Latrobe Best Start Expo.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester and Member for Eastern Victoria Region Peter Hall both volunteered for the tough task today and had high hopes their stories would be well received by the young crowd.

The expo is being held this week at Mid Valley Shopping Centre and aims to provide local children with the opportunity to participate in a range of educational activities and demonstrate to parents the importance of reading in early childhood development.

Mr Chester said sometimes simple things such as reading to children can be forgotten due to the focus on new technology and busy lifestyles many parents of today are leading.

“As a parent myself I understand how easy it is to get distracted by work or other activities and to forget some of the simple pleasures in raising children such as reading to them,” Mr Chester said.

“With new technologies it is also easy to allow children to learn by watching television or using computers rather than focussing on books.

“Importantly there are few educational activities as easy to do or as beneficial as teaching children to read at home.”

Mr Hall, a school teacher before entering State Parliament, said he knows all too well the importance education plays from an early age.

“As a former teacher I know it is so important to build the foundations of literacy from an early age,” Mr Hall said.

“This is an initiative I?m pleased to support and I encourage parents across the Latrobe Valley to show their support for the event.”

The Latrobe Best Start Expo is running from 10am-4pm until Friday, January 22. In addition to guest storytelling, activities include face painting, arts and craft and live crosses by TRFM.

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