Family Literacy Day Celebrated at Chief Gabriel Cote Education Complex

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Family Literacy Day in Canada and a special party was held at the Chief Gabriel Cote Education Complex (CGCEC.)

The Parkland Regional Library Literacy Hub partnered with the Kamsack Family Resource Centre and Regional Kids First (Yorkton area) to celebrate Family Literacy Day on January 23, although the actual date was January 27, said Carol Marriott, literacy co-ordinator for the Parkland Regional Library.

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“Family literacy starts with families reading together and introducing reading to children at a young age,” she said. “Around forty students from Kindergarten to Grade 2 participated. The Norquay Coop donated all of the items for a craft that was made by the students during the celebration.”

Marriott organized the event with CGCEC, and Parkland Regional Library Literacy Hub provided the healthy snack of fruits, vegetables, meat and cheese.

Chlorisa Erickson of Regional Kids First (Yorkton area), a partnering sponsor, was on hand to help with the event, as was Andrea Verigin of the Kamsack Family Resource Centre.

Veregin led the storytime and also brought a wooden sled with 10 stuffed toy animals as a visual for the featured storybook Ten on a Sled.

Kristi Benson, a local dog training professional from San Clara, Man., was there to give the students a presentation on dog safety. Benson brought a large stuffed toy dog named Petunia to use as a visual aid during her presentation, in which she showed students how to behave if they are approached by a strange dog, telling them to behave like a tree and stand very still.

She also stressed to the students that they should not approach and give hugs to a strange dog for it is possible the animal may bite, Marriott said.

During craft time the students used paint sticks to measure and assemble a craft.

“In addition to literacy the students learned life skills and numeracy. Altogether, it was a very successful event,” Marriott said.

Family Literacy Day is a national awareness initiative created by ABC Life Literacy Canada in 1999 and held annually on January 27 to raise awareness of the importance of reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities as a family, said a release.

“Spending at least 20 minutes together daily as a family and being engaged in simple and fun activities can make a world of difference when it comes to increasing learning and overall literacy skills,” said Mack Rogers, ABC Life Literacy Canada executive director, in the release. “We know that most families live busy and complex lives, but taking time to read, play board games, or prepare meals together can have long-lasting benefits for children and adults alike.”

This sentiment was echoed by Barbara Reid, award-winning Canadian author and plasticine illustrator, who is also the honourary chair of Family Literacy Day.

“It is no secret that families that learn together, grow together,” said Reid “There are many free learning resources available at home and throughout local communities. A little imagination can go a long way.”

Family literacy refers to the many ways families develop and use literacy skills, from enjoying a storybook together, to playing word games, singing, writing to a relative or friend and sharing day-to-day tasks such as making a shopping list.

Parents’ literacy skills and their ability to engage with their children in ways that encourage literacy at an early age have a lasting and far-reaching impact on children’s language development, future success in school and well-being throughout their lives.

Reading aloud and engaging in other literacy-related activities helps children learn listening, vocabulary and language skills, and develop imagination and creativity. Engaging in learning together also provides an opportunity for adults to continue exercising their skills at all stages of their lives, the release said.

Various literacy events were to be held across the province to mark this day. 

Gordon Wyant, deputy premier and education minister had proclaimed January 27 as Family Literacy Day in Saskatchewan.

“Literacy skills play a crucial role in a child’s overall development,” Wyant said. “Family member engagement helps support the foundation of literacy development of children.”

The Government of Saskatchewan continues to support the literacy development of children and families by funding eight family literacy hubs across the province and 20 summer literacy camps every year.

 More than 1,200 children attended the camps last year and 49 per cent of them were returning participants, said the release. The family literacy hubs are a provincial network of eight organizations that work with community organizations locally to identify family literacy needs and develop programming.

The government also partners with the Saskatchewan Literacy Network (SLN) to support the literacy sector and deliver family literacy practitioner training and resources throughout the province. The 2018-19 provincial budget includes $1.5 million to support ministry of education literacy initiatives.

ABC Life Literacy Canada is a non-profit organization that inspires Canadians to increase their literacy and essential skills.

“We mobilize business, government and communities to support lifelong learning and achieve our goals through leadership in programs, communications and partnerships,” it said in the release. “We envision a Canada where everyone has the skills they need to live a fully engaged life.”

For the latest news and information on adult literacy, please visit www.abclifeliteracy.ca.