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The St George Illawarra Dragons were amongst many avid readers celebrating the third annual Paint The Gong REaD at Westfield Warrawong on Thursday.

Dragons National Youth Competition team trio Thomas Freebairn, Andrew McCarthy and Shannon Crook shared their passion for reading with many eager little book worms as well as taking time out to sign posters.

“I was a little nervous when I first started reading on stage to everyone but soon felt right at home,” said Freebairn.

“All the kids were really engaged with the reading session which had me reading the great ‘Dusty and Friends’ book and read along to it too.”

The Paint the Gong REaD event at Westfield Warrawong is only one part of the great initiative, which is aimed at promoting early literacy for children aged 0-5 years, through loads of reading, singing, painting, decorating and dancing.

Honora Jenkins, Paint The Gong REaD Event Co-ordinator was also in attendance and acknowledged the initiative’s benefits to all the children in attendance.