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BOOK A DATE FOR LITERACY

- Parents and Caregivers Urged to Mark Family Literacy Day by Talking, Playing or Reading With Their Children -

Fifteen minutes a day spent talking, listening, playing or reading with a youngster add up to life-long benefits for both children and parents.

Research shows that adults who encourage literacy skills in their children help lay the foundation for healthy growth and development, improved speech and language, an interest in lifelong learning and future success in school. For that reason, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is highlighting the importance of literacy in the lead-up to Family Literacy Day on January 27.

Family Literacy Day is marked nationally to raise awareness of the importance of reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities as a family. Locally, many libraries in the City of Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland County and Haliburton County have special activities planned to mark as Family Literacy Day. People are encouraged to check with their local library or Ontario Early Years Centre to see what is being planned in their community.

“Practising literacy together every day has tremendous benefits for both children and parents,” says Shelley Shaughnessy, a Family Health Nurse with the HKPR District Health Unit. “Not only is there quality time spent together as a family, strong literacy skills are also essential for children to reach their full potential in our changing and dynamic world.”

There are many fun ways that families can encourage literacy skills, without children even realizing they are learning, she adds. Reading a book at bedtime, visiting the library, playing a board game together, singing, writing to a relative or friend or telling knock-knock jokes while doing the dishes can all be options. For more ideas to promote literacy at home, visit ABC Literacy Canada.

Another way to promote literacy is to recognize how reading and writing show up in everyday activities. 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 and shout out the names of the items you find. You can also read the labels on the foods you buy with children, and get them to help you sort the groceries when you get home,” she says.

Locally, the District Preschool Speech and Language Program can help families seeking resources that support children’s speech and language skills. For more information, call the HKPR District Health Unit toll-free at 1-866-888-4577 and speak to a Family Health Nurse.

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For media inquiries, contact:

Shelley Shaughnessy, Family Health Nurse, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100,

or Kelly Taylor, Family Health Nurse, HKPR District Health Unit, (705) 457-1391. .

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