College celebrates Literacy Day

Great Plains College, in partnership with the Southwest Literacy Committee, will celebrate Family Literacy Day on January 27. A week-long celebration with different activities has been planned from January 24 to 31 and more. The 2021 theme is “Travel the World 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. ABC Canada states, “A mother’s reading skill is the greatest factor to affect her children’s future academic success, outweighing other factors, like neighbourhood and family income.” 

“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.” 

Due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, most of the activities offered during the Family Literacy Week will be virtual with the exception of two programs. Although the restrictions have limited our scope for celebration, it has opened many doors to celebrate family, literacy and learning differently. This year we will be celebrating Family Literacy Day through an initiative by Provincial Library and Literacy Office, Government of Saskatchewan. All across the province, literacy hubs will be able to participate and celebrate together virtually. Saskatchewan Literacy Network has been instrumental in getting this event organized provincially. 

On January 27, Ruth Wellborn, a Saskatchewan author, will read her own book, “Never Rub Noses with a Narwhal”. This story’s background will provide interesting facts about the North American Arctic. With the help of Ruth Wellborn’s reading and anecdotes, the listeners will be able to virtually travel to Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Program streaming will be done for Chinook School Division grade 2 students, Family Resource Centre in Swift Current and other community organizations. 

Based on this year’s theme, Southwest Literacy Committee will hold a reading session for grade 3 students of Chinook School Division. Authors Danson and Mutinda will present their book, “Hockey Night in Kenya”, to the school children on February 11. There will be an opportunity for the students to ask questions and have a cultural discussion with the authors. 

Southwest Literacy Committee partners will offer learning experiences and encourage a culture of reading and inquiry. Chinook Regional Library will conduct Story Trails in partnership with Palliser Regional Library. Story Trails will be an outdoor activity for the participating families and books will be given away as prizes to the families. KidsFirst program will organize Story Walks in Maple Creek for the families. It will be conducted over a period of three days, January 29, 30 and 31. 

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 tote bag of books and assessment tools to assist in child development. As well, 

pre-literacy kits are assembled for pre-school age children to help develop strong motor skills. 

“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. Travelling is a way of acquiring knowledge of other cultures and places. This year we can travel virtually and it is accessible and affordable for all. We encourage families to take their children to a place of their choice by travelling virtually through a book or different media.” 

For additional information on any activities related to Family Literacy Day 2021, please contact Bula Ghosh at 306-778-5477 or bulag@greatplainscollege.ca

Let 2021 be the year to go on a learning journey and “Travel the World Together.” 

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