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Read up Jan. 27 for Family Literacy Day

Encouraging a future generation of readers means people need to lead by example and there is no better one than reading together as a family.

Across Canada, Jan. 27 is Family Literacy Day.

Established in 1999 by ABC Life Literacy Canada, the initiative encourages families to participate in fun learning activities to improve literacy skills for the adults and children.

Over 1.5 million Canadians have taken part in that literacy initiative over the past 14 years.

Finding time to learn, even for just 15 minutes a day with a child can be hard to do with today’s hectic schedules. But the benefits of dedicating that time on a daily basis, whether reading and writing, playing and exercising, or simply talking about the day, are far-reaching and beneficial for everyone.

For those who have not started putting aside 15 minutes a day for family learning, Family Literacy Day offers the opportunity to start.

Here are some activities to make learning fun for everyone in the family:

- establish a night to enjoy activities such as puzzles, crosswords or board games. Switching the activity each week keeps the enjoyment level high.

- the brain is like a muscle; if not used, it atophies. Getting active can help strengthen the mind, so play hide-and-seek, tag or catch outside with the children.

- use imagination by creating stories together. Lead with the first sentence and then go back and forth with children, building on the story. Children use their imagination and creativity and together families create a living story. Do that while completing chores to help time pass faster.

- act out the family’s favourite book by reading a page together and then acting out what was written. If kids have friends over, they can engage in that activity and then put a play on for their parents when they are picked up;

- still waiting for dinner to cook? Read together while waiting. Pick up a book, magazine or newspaper.

All of those activities can be done after dinner, outside in the backyard or before going to bed. The time goes by fast.

Spending time learning at home is crucial. Practicing the activities will help develop a love of learning and help to develop literacy skills.

While people may not think of it, most of the time spent together at home can be learning opportunities. Even time spent doing the dishes, eating dinner or having a bath can all easily have a focus on learning in a fun way.

For more information, including literacy tips and activities and event listings, visit

January 6, 2012


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