Thursday
Jan242013

15 Minutes of Fun - Family Literacy Day January 27th

 As an early childhood professional, Family Literacy Day has always been an important date to remember and an opportunity to share information with the families I work with. For the past two years however, this day has had more personal significance for me as the parent of a young child.

My daughter, Olivia had her first story read to her on the day she was born. I would love to say I had the foresight to bring a story to read with my child in the hospital, but it was a dear friend who shared the story, On the Day You Were Born by Debra Frasier.  Since that day we have read, sung and shared several stories a day.  

We are fortunate to be able to connect with other families through programs at the local library to sing songs and share in language experiences that set a strong foundation for Olivia’s learning. Her Dad and I like to use the times when we are traveling from one place to another, or waiting for our turn at the doctor to make up silly rhymes or to recall favorite stories. These experiences are woven into our lives in such a way that they are a significant part of the memories we create as a family. I am delighted to see the joy Olivia gets from interacting with books, and how important the characters and stories have become in her life.

Over the past few months Olivia has been acting out parts of her favorite stories and inviting pretend characters to join us for dinner. The following is a quote from Olivia who is exploring her story telling skills:

Olivia: “Once upon a child, a cow took a bite of the moon”

Me: “I wonder what the moon tastes like”

Olivia with conviction: “Pomegranate!”

I love her certainty of such things.

Early Literacy skills develop in relationships with responsive caregivers, and through so much more than books. Talking, singing and playing are all part of building skills for ongoing literacy development. So, this Sunday I look forward to trying some new activities with my family as part of Family Literacy Day. This day is part of 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. This year’s theme is 15 Minutes of Fun.

Check out the website for more information and some suggested activities to share with your family. http://abclifeliteracy.ca/fld/family-literacy-day

Success By 6®, a community initiative managed by United Way focused on ensuring that all Edmonton children from 0 to 6 years have the supports they need for a lifetime of healthy growth and development, and encourages literacy awareness through its support of the Centre for Family Literacy.  The Centre for Family Literacy’s mission is to build, develop and improve literacy within families and communities. Success By 6® and United Way help them to do this by providing funding for the Literacy Classroom on Wheels (C.O.W.) and the Alberta Prairie Literacy C.O.W.(or as children call it, the big COW bus).

Here are some of the many benefits of early literacy development, that last throughout childhood and beyond:

  • Expanded vocabulary and writing skills
  • Healthy social and emotional development
  • Longer attention spans, promoting better retention of information in school
  • Enhanced imaginative and critical thinking skills
  • A sense of closeness and intimacy between parent and child
  • Enhanced memory and higher levels of concentration

Early Literacy Resources in the City of Edmonton:

Edmonton Public Library and the Centre for Family Literacy

Baby Laptime

Sing, Sign, Laugh and Learn

Books for Babies

Daddy and Baby Time

Family Storytime

Fun for Ones

Preschool Storytime

Rhymes That Bind

Literacy Classroom on Wheels (C.O.W.)

Alberta Prairie Literacy C.O.W

To find out more information on programs and services for families with young children, please call 211 or visit www.raisingchildren.alberta.ca

Blog written by Ilene Fleming, Director of Community Building and Investment - Children and Youth & Success By 6 for United Way of the Alberta Capital Region.

 

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