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LEARN AT PLAY EVERY DAY

- Local Families Encouraged to Mark January 27 by Reading and Engaging Children in Literacy-Related Activities -

‘Family’ and ‘literacy’ officially come together this Friday, and local parents and caregivers are being encouraged to make them part of a regular routine 365 days a year.

Family Literacy Day 2017 is set for January 27. It highlights the importance of adults talking, listening, playing and reading with children to help develop strong literacy skills for life. In marking Family Literacy Day, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit encourages local families to ‘learn at play, every day’ by making reading and other literacy-related activities part of their daily routine.

“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 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 it is learning. Reading a book at bedtime, visiting the library, playing a board game together, or telling knock-knock jokes while doing the dishes can all be options. There are also other creative literacy activities to do together as a family, such as:

• Organizing a ‘grocery hunt’ in which children search the store for all food items on the family grocery list.

• Playing ‘home restaurant’ by getting children to create a menu for a meal by drawing food items or using grocery store flyers. To spice up mealtime, children can even take food orders too.

• Taking part in an ‘animal dance’ by having family members stand in a circle and have each take a turn moving like an animal and say what they’re doing (e.g. ‘I hop like a bunny,’ ‘I stomp like a dinosaur’).

Local families can also check with their local library or Ontario Early Years Centre to see if there are special events planned in their community as part of Family Literacy Day.

Locally, one notable event is the free Family Literacy Day festivities taking place Saturday (January 28/17) at 10 am at the YMCA (339 Elgin St. W.) in Cobourg. Literacy-based games and activities are planned. Author Rebecca Broeders will read and sign her newest book, ‘How to Survive a Canadian Winter.’ A local First Nations community storyteller will also visit.

Two organizations that can offer additional ideas and information for families are:

ABC Life Literacy Canada offers family literacy tips, activities and resources.

KidTalk is the Preschool Speech and Language Services that provides activities and resources to promote speech skills, as well as information on speech and language milestones.

For media inquiries, contact:

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

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