Family Literacy Week Time for fun – and learning

Even 15 minutes a day can drastically benefit the literacy skills of both parent and child

Parents and caregivers across British Columbia are encouraged to find fun ways to learn with their children during Family Literacy Week. Even 15 minutes a day can drastically benefit the literacy skills of both parent and child.

During Family Literacy Week (Jan 24-31) Decoda Literacy Solutions is reaching out to families across the province to encourage them to take part in informal family learning activities to improve their literacy and learning skills.

“Literacy is not just about reading and writing and it is not only learned in the classroom,” says Brenda Le Clair of Decoda Literacy Solutions. “Families can build literacy skills by playing games together, making a shopping list, storytelling, searching the internet or going for nature walk.”

Recent studies show that engaging in informal family learning in the home and the community has a direct impact on children, parents, and society as a whole.

“Parents and caregivers who participate in informal family learning directly and positively affect the language and literacy development of their children,” says Le Clair. “When families practice literacy together, we all benefit because literacy development of the family impacts every area of our lives: healthcare, crime rates, employment, economic status, civic engagement and overall life chances,”

The findings are overwhelming. When children get an early start with literacy in the home, they are better prepared to enter school; they do better on reading achievement tests; they are more likely to pursue higher education; they find higher-paying jobs; they lead healthier lives; and they are more likely to vote, volunteer and give back to their community. See attached fact sheet.

Family activities you can do in the home and community to practice and promote literacy:

Read together Make a shopping list Search the internet Play Games Build Puzzles Sing songs Paint together Nature Walk Write cards Look for signs Draw together Dance together

“The benefits of practicing family literacy go beyond the child,” says Le Clair. “When parents take an active role in their child’s literacy development, they build stronger bonds and they are more likely to take an active role in their children’s learning – even 15 minutes of reading a day can dramatically improve both child and parent’s literacy skills.”

In addition to informal learning in the home, there are a number of quality family literacy programs across B.C. that offer family literacy programming. The benefits to parents who enroll in these programs are numerous: parents learn to support their children’s learning needs; place greater value on education and learning; become interested in developing their own literacy skills; are exposed to opportunities to progress to further education and training; and they form social and supportive networks.

Decoda Literacy Solutions will be engaged in several activities during Family Literacy Week.

Below are some of the initiatives for 2015:

Share Your Selfie Challenge: Decoda is running an online contest called Share Your Selfie. The contest encourages families to participate in a family literacy activity, take a selfie, and post it to our Facebook page and then CHALLENGE someone online to do the same. Grand prizes: One-year membership to Science World OR $250 Best Buy Gift Certificate; Runner-a