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POWER OF WORDS

- Health Unit Encourages Families to Give Voice to Literacy Skills by Marking World Read Aloud Day -

Sounds like it’s a good day to read aloud and share stories with your child.

That’s the message the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is sending to local families on World Read Aloud Day, which is being marked on Thursday (February 16). The global awareness day celebrates the power of words and the importance of supporting literacy skills in young children.

“Literacy is crucial for a child’s emotional and physical well-being, as well as future success,” says Shelley Shaughnessy, a Family Health Nurse with the HKPR District Health Unit. “Reading aloud supports literacy skills by helping children learn new words, understand story themes, and improve listening skills.”

To mark World Read Aloud Day in their community, local families, educators, child-care providers and others can get connected and find out activities by visiting the special website set aside to mark the day. Shaughnessy also provides a few suggestions on how adults can create a powerful and memorable read aloud experience with children.

“Read the story beforehand, so you are familiar with it and can stop to ask questions of your child to spur interest and engagement in the plot,” she says. “Be animated too, by changing your voice during the read aloud to match the expressions of the characters and emotions of the story. This will help to bring the text to life!”

Using different voices for different characters can also help children recognize the dialogue in the story, and better understand a character’s traits, Shaughnessy adds.

To further support literacy skills in children, area residents can visit Kid Talk, an online portal supported by the HKPR District Health Unit, Peterborough Public Health, Five Counties Children Centre and the Northumberland Child Development Centre. People concerned about a child’s speech skills can also call the local Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577 and speak to a Family Health Nurse.

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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