There are many different reasons to celebrate Family Literacy Day in Swift Current on January 27.
Next Friday’s celebration of Family Literacy Day has a theme of Canada 150 (One Country – Together is Better).
The tandem of Bula Ghosh and Andrea McCrimmon from the Southwest Literacy Committee attended the January 16 Swift Current City Council meeting in order to help proclaim the week of January 22 to 28 as Family Literacy Week in Swift Current.
The highlight event of Family Literacy Day is a reading by Metis author Leah Dorian. She will be reading in both English and Michif from her book The Giving Tree. These readings are scheduled at the Swift Current Mall at 9 a.m., 10:15 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 1:45 p.m.
Family Literacy Day is targeted to entire families and promotes the importance of reading along with participating in literacy related activities.
“We encourage families to read to their children in their ethnic or indigenous languages. This is because the development of first languages lays the foundation for learning any other language,” explained Ghosh.
As Family Literacy Day 2017 is a combined celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary, along with celebrating the multicultural aspect of the nation, a Family Literacy evening for English Language Learners and their families will be held at Great Plains College on January 27. Southwest Literacy Committee partner organizations like the Swift Current Library, Family Resource Centre and the Newcomer Welcome Centre are also hosting celebration events.
The focus of Family Literacy Day is also to increase awareness of the integral role family literacy plays in helping determine quality of life.
“The family is a child’s first teacher and the profound influence that the family has on a child’s literacy is widely recognized,” McCrimmon said. “It is important to remember that literacy begins in our homes and activities like playing, reading, listening, talking, singing, storytelling and drawing influence language skills and much of a child’s physical, social and cognitive development.”
The Southwest Literacy Committee has a series of initiatives that extends throughout the Southwest. Their Books for Babies program provides parents and caregivers of four-month-old babies with books, nursery rhymes, local library details, and information and assessment tools to assist with a child’s development. These book bags are distributed via the Cypress Health Region. This project was started in 2004 and has been an inspiration for starting similar projects in other communities.
The distribution of pre-literacy kits are also a popular outreach by the committee. The pre-school kit contains activities to help develop good motor skills. These kits were distributed through the Swift Current Library and other Chinook Regional Library branches.
The Swift Current Library also offers weekly programs such as Story Time and Baby Steps as ways parents can support early learning.
In addition, the Swift Current Library has a selection of early literacy materials in a number of languages to encourage family reading time.