January 27 will mark the 20th anniversary of Family Literacy Day, the national annual literacy initiative developed by ABC Life Literacy Canada, stated Leslea Hanson, senior English Language Arts (ELA) teacher at Preeceville School.
As stated on the ABC Life Literacy Canada Website, it was created “to raise awareness of the importance of reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities as a family. Taking time every day to read or do a learning activity with children is crucial to a child’s development, improving a child’s literacy skills dramatically.”
"Literacy is not limited to reading story books and novels; it involves word games, singing songs, writing emails, reading a flyer and making a shopping list, evaluating products, following verbal instructions, reading a recipe, reading an instructional manual, filling out forms, and so on,” said Hanson.
It is important for children to see their parents modelling literacy based activities, she stated. The Kids and Family Reading report from Scholastic states, “Parents’ reading habits play a large role in determining how often kids read.”
“I read recently that ‘our gaps become their gaps,’” said Hanson, “meaning that, although children learn beliefs and values from what we do, they also learn from what we don’t do. If children do not see us make reading a priority, they will come to believe it is not valuable. Children need reading role models.”
Over the past three years, Preeceville School has taken an active role in promoting a literacy culture within its walls and extending into the community.
“We will continue to promote literacy through awareness days like Family Literacy Day as well as our day-to-day instruction,” Hanson said. “Reading is not a chore. Reading together allows families to engage on a social level, creating memories through a shared activity.”
She encourages families to share their reading lives with each other and among friends. “Like anything else we practice, the more we read, the better we become,” urged Hanson.
To promote Family Literacy Day, Preeceville School is asking families to share pictures of themselves reading together on the school’s Facebook or Twitter pages. Also, family members are encouraged to watch for news about an upcoming literacy event for families at the school.