Family Literacy Day offers words to live by

Research shows that the education level of the mother is the strongest variable affecting a child’s school achievement.

It also shows that parents can increase their children’s chances to succeed in school through such means as reading to them or modelling good reading habits, while other research reveals that reading to your children has a huge impact on their development, especially in the early years.

These are the reasons why Family Literacy Day has been created with the aim of raising awareness of the importance of reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities as a family.

Observed annually on Jan. 27 since 1999, the day was initiated by ABC Life Literacy Canada, a non-profit organization that inspires Canadians to increase their literacy skills.

“Reading to children more than once a day has a substantial positive impact on their future academic skills. In addition, children with early exposure to books and reading are better at performing mathematical tasks,” says a survey done by Statistics Canada a few years ago.

It adds, “Children aged two to three who are read to several times a day do substantially better in kindergarten at the age of four and five than youngsters who are read to only a few times a week or less.”

Increased literacy levels among parents mean more reading and literacy-building activities in the home, preparing their children for success in school and encouraging a lifelong love of reading and learning.

ABC Life Literacy Canada is encouraging Canadian families to have “15 Minutes of Fun” learning together this Family Literacy Day.

It states that learning can happen at any time. Practising literacy together every day has tremendous benefits for both children and parents.

Here are some helpful tips to get you started:

  • Read a “wake up” story in the morning (after reading your bedtime story the night before).
  • Search online for fun places to go in your community. Pick out a spot for your next family day trip.
  • Make up a new recipe together and post it online.
  • Tell knock-knock jokes together while doing the dishes.
  • Create a story with your family: take turns writing one sentence at a time, then read the whole story aloud when you’re done.
  • Write a review of a book you read together as a family. Send it to the author through email or snail mail.
  • Organize a book swap at your school or with your friends.
  • Track your trip to school, the park and the grocery store on a map. Find a different route to take to each place.
  • Learn to play a musical instrument. What about the ukulele?
  • Write a note to include in a grown-up’s lunch – ask them to write back!
  • Make a Popsicle stick model with your family.
  • Write your names graffiti-style using chalk on your sidewalk – you may need to shovel first!
  • Look up the words to your favourite song online. Have a sing-off with your friends.
  • Count how many steps it takes to get from your bedroom to your kitchen. Find out who in your family has the most steps to a snack.