Literacy celebrated

Great Plains College, in partnership with the Southwest Literacy Committee, will celebrate Family Literacy Day on January 27. This year’s theme, “Take 20 in 2020”, encourages families to take 20 minutes every day to do a learning activity together. 

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. 

“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 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.” 

This year’s celebrations include a family literacy event at the Swift Current Library featuring a celebrity reader. Parents, preschoolers and families are invited to join for the readings on January 27 at 9 a.m., 10:15 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:45 p.m. Polly Diamond and the Magic Book will be the featured book, which emphasizes how literacy skills can create a magical experience in one’s life. Similar family literacy events will also be hosted at the Maple Creek Library on January 27, the Herbert School Library on January 28 and the Gull Lake Library on January 29. 

A number of other initiatives will also take place in celebration of Family Literacy Day, including Inspiring Play, a hands-on family learning event at the Family Resource Centre on January 28 from 6-8 p.m., hosted in partnership with Saskatchewan Literacy Network, along with a family photo contest that will run January 6-31. Anyone wishing to enter to the photo contest can submit a photo of their family doing an activity together to and they’ll be entered to win an Indigo and Tim Hortons gift card. English language training students at Great Plains College will also be joining the Inspiring Play event on January 28. 

“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 are in a learning environment at home are more likely to succeed in school and in life, which is why we’d like to challenge all parents to ‘Take 20 in 2020’ and spend 20 minutes each day doing a learning activity together.” 

Southwest Literacy Committee also leads a number of other literacy projects throughout the year, including Books for Babies, where parents and caregivers of four-month-old babies receive a package of books and assessment tools to assist in child development, and pre-literacy kits for pre-school age children to help develop strong motor skills.

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