Think of all the things you have read in the past 24 hours – street signs, billboards, email and much more. Now imagine not being able to read them.
Family Literacy Day is a national awareness initiative created by ABC Life Literacy Canada in 1999. It is held annually on Jan. 27 to draw attention to the importance of reading and writing skills for all family members. The term refers to the ways that parents and family use literacy at home during their daily routines. Research indicates that children who grow up in homes with strong literacy habits tend to do better at school.
The Delta Community Literacy Committee supports several family literacy initiatives in the community. Funding comes from a variety of sources including Decoda Literacy Solutions, which is supported by the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Education. To keep informed about literacy initiatives in Delta, like and follow Delta Literacy – Read, Play, Unplug on Facebook.
Parent-child Mother Goose programs are offered throughout Delta via a partnership between the Delta libraries and the Boys and Girls Club of South Coast B.C. Run by two facilitators, ten weekly sessions introduce parents, caregivers and babies up to 15 months old to the power of using rhymes, songs and stories.
In a relaxed group setting, parents and babies can share and connect with others while increasing confidence and enhancing brain development and the parent-child bond. Mother Goose programs in Delta are very popular and registration fills up quickly. For more information, contact the George Mackie, Ladner Pioneer or Tsawwassen Libraries.
The Hellings Adult Literacy Club is a program that started in 2011. Parents and grandparents of children who attend the StrongStart program at Hellings Elementary meet once a week to learn everyday English in an informal setting.
They focus on basics such as names, telephone numbers, addresses and making appointments. Games such as bingo or ones that use flash cards are used to help improve or expand English vocabulary and give attendees the confidence to participate in literacy activities with their children and grandchildren. One participant said, “Because of this program I am going to get my driver’s license as I can now read the book and learn the rules for my test.”
The Read-Learn-Play with Your Baby initiative congratulates parents of new babies in Delta with the gift of a board book in a small bag. The program is a partnership between Fraser Valley Regional Library, Fraser Health and the Delta Friends of the Library, and funders include the Delta Community Literacy Committee and the Delta Foundation. The bags are distributed at various programs in the community, including Fraser Health Baby Daze sessions and immunization clinics, Delta libraries, and the Boys and Girls Club.
Acquiring literacy skills is like learning to walk – there are many stages and it doesn’t happen overnight. Nor does it end. Literacy is not just reading and writing; terms such as health literacy, financial literacy, and civic literacy refer to a person’s level of understanding in those areas and their ability to make appropriate decisions.
On Family Literacy Day, take a few minutes to think about the ways literacy skills affect everyday life, both for you and for those you love.