SWIFT CURRENT: Family Literacy Day will be celebrated on Wednesday, January 27 by Great Plains College in partnership with the Southwest Literacy Committee. The theme for this year is “Wag a Tail for Literacy.” This theme ties in to the Swift Current Library “Read to a Dog” program where kids are encouraged to practice their reading skills with Talla, St. John’s Ambulance’s therapy dog.
Practicing literacy 15 minutes a day is very beneficial for both children and parents. Engaging children in playful activities can help them to learn while having fun. This year’s theme encourages children to read to their family pet or to an animal. For children who have no pet, a stuffed animal would be a good alternative.
“Keeping with the theme, we hope that everybody will take a few minutes to reflect on what they learned while reading to their pet,” says Bula Ghosh, Southwest Literacy Committee member and literacy coordinator of Great Plains College in Swift Current. “It’s an enjoyable way to learn.”
A family literacy evening will be held for English Language Learners at Great Plains College on Thursday, January 28. Partner organizations, including Swift Current Library, Family Resource Centre and Newcomer Welcome Centre will also hold events to celebrate the occasion and increase awareness of the integral role literacy plays in determining quality of life.
“The family is a child’s first teacher and the profound influence that the family has on a child’s literacy is widely recognized,” said Ghosh. “Parents teach children their first language skills and much of a child’s physical, social and cognitive development happens at home through activities like playing, reading, listening, talking, singing, storytelling and drawing.”
Another one of the Southwest Literacy Committee’s initiatives is a community family literacy project called Books for Babies. Through this project, parents or caregivers of four-month-old babies in southwest Saskatchewan are provided with a book bag containing two books, nursery rhymes, local library details, and other information and assessment tools to assist child development. The book bags are distributed through Cypress Health Region in recognition that literacy is a determinant of health. This project was started in 2004 and has been an inspiration for similar projects in communities across Saskatchewan.
Southwest Literacy Committee also distributed pre-literacy kits for children again in 2015. The pre-school kit had activities that focus on developing good motor skills. The kits were distributed through Swift Current Library. Chinook Regional Library also carries out different literacy programs for families throughout the year.
Family Literacy Day began in 1999 through an initiative of ABC Canada. Studies have shown that children who are exposed to books at home early in life have a better chance of acquiring good reading and writing skills.
“Family literacy is about reading, writing, numeracy and more,” said Ghosh. “As important as the formal education system is, it is important to remember that literacy begins in our homes and within our families, which may include a pet. On national Family Literacy Day, we are mindful of this very powerful role of families in our children’s learning.”
For more information:
Amy Sletten – Communications Coordinator
P: 306-778-5498 C: 306-737-6107