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Family Literacy Day Encourages Talking,

Playing, or Reading with Children

Talk is not cheap when it comes to helping children develop strong literacy skills like reading and writing.

Family Literacy Day is January 27 and in the lead up to the event, the local Health Unit and the local Preschool Speech and Language Program are encouraging parents and grandparents to talk, listen, play and read with their children to help promote better literacy skills.

“Practising literacy together every day has tremendous benefits for children,” says Shelley Shaughnessy, a Family Health Nurse with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit and member of the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge Preschool Speech and Language Program. “Not only are strong literacy skills essential for children to reach their full potential, but they also contribute to healthy growth and development, improved speech and language, an interest in lifelong learning and future success in school.”

Shaughnessy says there are a variety of ways families can encourage literacy skills, including reading a book at bedtime, visiting the library, playing a board game together, singing rhymes, or reading a recipe together.

“Spending just 15 minutes a day talking and reading together can dramatically increase a child’s development and literacy,” she says.  

To help celebrate Family Literacy Day, families can check with their local library or Ontario Early Years Centre to see if there are special events planned or visit ABC Life Literacy Canada (abclifeliteracy.ca) for resources and ideas on how to celebrate literacy at home.

Shaughnessy points to grocery shopping as an example. “Get your child to help you write a grocery list, then look for letters or words on signs in the supermarket,” she says.

For more ideas on speech and language development, visit the Preschool Speech and Language Program website Kidtalk (www.kidtalk.on.ca). 

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For media inquiries, contact:

Shelley Shaughnessy, Family Health Nurse, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100 or toll-free: 1-866-888-4577.

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