How to improve your child's (and your own!) literacy skills: Family Literacy Day
Family Literacy Day is January 27th: Here’s how to get involved!
Family Literacy Day takes place every year on January 27th and was first launched in 1999 by ABC Life Literacy Canada 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 to do a learning activity with your children is crucial to their development, improves their literacy skills dramatically – and can help you improve your skills as well.
What is literacy, exactly? Most people think of it as the ability to read, write and count, but it goes deeper than that. According to UNESCO, it means being able to “identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute” materials from a variety of contexts. It also involves ongoing learning so you can achieve your goals, develop your knowledge and potential, and participate fully in society.
Literacy skills are necessary for communication, problem-solving, collaboration, adaptability, and creativity and innovation. Parents have a key role to play in developing their children’s literacy by encouraging them to read and write, and by making literacy activities a family activity.
For 2022, the theme for Family Literacy Day is “Learning in the Great Outdoors”. Children spend five times as much time outside the classroom as they do in school. The benefits of getting outdoors into nature are well-documented for physical health, but, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we’ve all come to recognize that it’s also good for mental health. In addition, research shows that exposure to nature improves a child’s ability to learn and can even improve grades, and that teaching in an outside setting using traditional methods improves retention.
Getting outside and being active provides a great opportunity to step away from the stresses of remote learning and the rules and restrictions of public health mandates. And, there are many ways to incorporate fun learning activities! ABC Life Literacy Canada has suggestions and resources to help make outdoor time fun for the whole family. Here are just a few:
- Scavenger hunt: make a list of things to look for while out for a walk
- Winter bingo: use the bingo card from ABC Life Literacy Canada or create your own before you head out for your walk, then see who’s first to yell “Bingo!”
- Nature Journal: draw pictures and write stories about animals you’ve seen and outdoor places you’ve visited
- Winter species: research the birds and animals in your area
- Nature hike: get some exercise AND do some math by timing your hike, and figuring out how far and how fast you walked
- Number walk: pick something to count during your walk: cars, trees, dogs, anything you can think of!
Check out ABC Life Literacy Canada’s website (https://abclifeliteracy.ca/all-programs/family-literacy-day/) to find Family Literacy Day events in your area. And, after you and your kids enjoy the great outdoors, curl up inside with some hot chocolate and a good book. Thinkamajigs has a large selection of fun and educational books from respected publishers, such as Highlights Learning, Kumon, Learning Resources, National Geographic Kids, Penguin Random House Canada, Popular Book Company, and Scholastic that your kids will enjoy! Contact us at 1-800-363-3013 or by clicking here.