SWIFT CURRENT, SK – Family Literacy Day will be celebrated on Thursday, January 31, by Great Plains College, in partnership with the Southwest Literacy Committee. This year’s theme is “Be a Readasaurus Rex!” based on pre-historic animals that are of interest to young and old alike—dinosaurs.
This year’s celebrations include a family literacy event at the Swift Current Library where celebrity reader Dr. Emily Bamforth, paleontologist at the T-Rex Centre in Eastend, will read the book “Dangerous Dinosaurs” by Frieda Wishinsky. Parents, preschoolers and families are invited to join for the readings at 9 a.m., 10:15 a.m., 12:30 p.m. or 1:45 p.m.
A family literacy evening will also be held at Great Plains College for English language learners and their families. Partner organizations, like Swift Current Library, Family Resource Centre and Newcomer Welcome Centre will also have different events to celebrate the occasion and increase awareness of the integral role family 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 Bula Ghosh, English language training coordinator at Great Plains College. “Parents teach children their first language skills and much of a child’s physical, social and cognitive development takes place in the family through activities like playing, reading, listening, talking, singing, storytelling and drawing. We would encourage parents to engage their children in fun learning activities at an early age to set the stage for reading books and having an enjoyable experience.“
According to the Kids and Family Reading Report, Scholastic, 2017, parents’ reading habits play a large role in determining how often kids read; 57 per cent of kids who are frequent readers have parents who read books 5-7 days per week, compared to 15 per cent of kids whose parents are infrequent readers. Nine in 10 kids and parents also say they enjoy read aloud time together.
“Family literacy is about reading, writing, numeracy, and more,” added Ghosh. “As important as the formal education system is, it is important to remember that literacy begins in our homes and within our families. Children who begin life in a learning environment at home are more likely to succeed in school and in life. On Family Literacy Day, let us be mindful of this very powerful role of families in our children’s learning.”
Another initiative of Southwest Literacy Committee 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 in child development. The book bags are distributed through the Saskatchewan Health Authority in recognition that literacy is a determinant of health. This project was started in 2004 and has been an inspiration for starting similar projects in different communities in Saskatchewan.
Southwest Literacy Committee also distributed pre-literacy kits for children again in 2018. The pre-school kit has activities for children getting ready for school to help in 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 and 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. This year, ABE Canada is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and their theme “Take 20” encourages families to add 20 minutes of learning together as part of their everyday routine.
For more information, contact:
Amy Masse, marketing & communications coordinator
Phone: (306) 737-6107