Building the foundation as a family

Austin M.
Austin M. Davis
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Family Literacy Day on Jan. 27 celebrates learning together

Reading doesn’t have to be an individual activity.

Tina Dolcetti, children's librarion at the public library, holds up a children's book. The library will be hosting a read-in for families on Saturday to celebrate Family Literacy Day.

“The younger that you start reading together, the better your chances are at success later in life,” said Tina Dolcetti, children’s librarian at the Moose Jaw Public Library.

“It’s always astounding to me, the importance of having literacy in a job. Even if it’s something as small as being able to read and write an email.”

Family Literacy Day is on Jan. 27. The event was first celebrated by ABC Life Literacy Canada in 1999 and has since been embraced by schools and libraries across Canada.

The library will be having a read-in on Saturday to see how many families can read together starting at 10 a.m. Registration is not required.

“We’re hoping to have as many people reading in the library as possible, if people want to get there earlier, we open at 9:30,” Dolcetti said.

After reading for a half hour, there will be games and snacks for families to enjoy.

Both Holy Trinity Catholic and Prairie South school divisions have schools planning programs to coincide with Family Literacy Day.

“We’ve got schools that just had so many things they wanted to celebrate around family literacy that it couldn’t all be incorporated in a single day,” said Geri Hall, superintendent of curricular instruction and assessment for Holy Trinity.

“We told them that they’re welcome to use the whole week if they like.”

Starting on Jan. 27, Catholic schools will celebrate family literacy in lots of different creative ways.

Sacred Heart will have famous literary figures roaming the halls, as kids are encouraged to dress as their favourite characters from books. There will be a collection of pictures of families reading posted in the school.

St. Agnes is going to involve meal-time as reading time when parents and guardians of Kindergarten to Grade 3 students are invited to a stone soup literacy evening. They’ll also have “stop, drop and read,” and in-motion literacy, combining reading and physical activity.

St. Mary’s will have a joke week where jokes will be read over the intercom all week.

Hall said it’s important to get families involved early with a child’s reading development.

“The families are the first educators of the children,” Hall said. “That engagement with text and reading stories and poems and nursery-rhymes help build the foundation of language and exposure to words.”

Prairie South School Division (PSSD) schools will also be participating in Family Literacy Day activities.

“One of the strategic priorities of the board this year has been reading,” said Darby Briggs, PSSD communications coordinator, “They’ve decided that that is the foundational skill.”

She said the PSSD is really focusing on developing the skill in the youngest students and building it all the way until graduating high school.

“It really is a community skill,” Briggs said. “Everybody needs to be involved. We really encourage our parents to read with your kids, to read to them, to get them to read ingredients on a cereal box or when you’re grocery shopping. It can be so easy to really weave those things into everyday life. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming.”

Organizations: Moose Jaw Public Library, Prairie South School Division, ABC Life Literacy Canada

Geographic location: Holy Trinity

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