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  Weekly Feature (January 14, 2007)

Family Literacy Day
(January 27, 2007)



Family Literacy Facts

Family Literacy is many things. Family Literacy refers to the many ways families develop and use literacy skills, from enjoying a storybook together at bedtime and during the day, to playing with word games, singing, writing to a relative or friend, sharing day-to-day tasks such as making a shopping list or using a recipe, and surfing the Internet for fun and interesting sites. (Family Literacy in Canada: Profiles of Effective Practices, Adele Thomas, Soleil Publishing Inc., 1998)

The earlier the better

Simple things like reading and telling stories to a child at 18 months are powerful stimuli for brain development in the early years. (Early Years Study Final Report: Reversing the Real Brain Drain, Government of Ontario, 1999)

 Reading to children more than once a day has a substantial positive impact on their future academic skills. In addition, research indicates children with early exposure to books and reading are better at performing mathematical tasks. (National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, Statistics Canada, 1996-1997)

Children aged 2 to 3 who are read to several times a day do substantially better in kindergarten at the age of 4 and 5 than youngsters who are read to only a few times a week or less. (National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth)

The parent-child bond

For a child, the more time spent with a parent reading aloud increases his or her level of attachment, enhances a sense of security, and imparts the knowledge that their parent feels they are worthwhile people with whom to spend time. Having a parent or other caring person read aloud with their children helps children learn listening skills, vocabulary and language skills, as well as develop imagination and creativity. (Family Literacy Foundation; 2001)

Some experts say that for 80 per cent of children, simple immersion in reading and books will lead to real, independent reading by school age. (How to Make Your Child a Reader for Life, Paul Kropp, Random House Canada, 2000) Eighty-eight per cent of children aged 4 to 9 have a positive attitude about learning and look forward to school. (The Progress of Canada's Children, Canadian Council on Social Development, 1996)

Parents should pay careful attention to three potential reading slump times that can hinder a child's reading development: when a child enters kindergarten; at grade 4; and when a child enters high school.



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