Family Literacy Week: Time for fun and learning

Comox Valley, BC (January 16, 2016) – Comox Valley Lifelong Learning Association, VIRL Comox Valley Library branches and Comox Valley Success by Six, is joining Decoda Literacy Solutions, BC’s provincial literacy organization, to reach out to families across the province and to encourage all family members to take part in play-based literacy activities during Family Literacy Week 2016 (January 24-31).

Parents and caregivers are their children’s first and most important teachers. “A typical child spends 900 hours a year in school and 7,800 hours outside school, often with their parents.  Which teacher has the bigger influence?” says Jim Trelease in The Read Aloud Handbook. 

Recent studies show that engaging in informal family learning in the home and in the community has a direct positive impact on children and parents. “Children are active learners. When children play, they are experimenting, observing, listening, making mistakes and trying again. Parents who participate in play-based family learning directly and positively affect the language and literacy development of their children,” says Decoda’s CEO, Brenda Le Clair. 

“Play is vital in children’s lives. It is important for healthy physical, social, emotional and cognitive development. It helps children make sense of the world around them,” adds Le Clair.

Comox Valley Family Literacy Week will highlight play, fun and learning at events at the Courtenay, Comox, and Cumberland libraries. At each event, Success by Six will be gifting families with “Recipes for Healthy Beginnings” which include a lunchbag with “recipe” cards. Lynn Joseph, Comox Valley Success by Six coordinator, explains that the recipe cards “are fun activity cards that include family indoor and outdoor play ideas, nutritious snack ideas, and interactive songs which have been translated into Kwalwa’ala.”

Danielle Hoogland, Comox Valley Literacy Outreach Coordinator, adds that included in the lunch bag will be a book. “Family Literacy Week is also about celebrating the joy of reading! Each family will receive a new book to read together. Reading as a family for 15 minutes a day can dramatically improve both child and parent’s literacy skills.”

Family Literacy Day at Courtenay library will be on Wednesday, January 27th, from 10-12. Interactive learning tables hosted by local organizations will be located throughout the library. “There will be many art activities and some fantastic play opportunities”, says Hoogland.

The much loved Strong Start facilitators Carlene and Colleen will do a rhyme time with kids and families from 10:15-10:30. Rhyme time is not a sit-down activity – there will be singing and dancing. After getting the wiggles out, families will have the pleasure of listening to local 9-year old singer-songwriter Stella Swanson and her mother and sister perform. “Stella is a delightful young artist who will certainly engage and inspire young and old alike,” says Hoogland. If you miss Stella on January 27th, you can catch her again on January 28th at the Comox Library branch from 10:30-11. She’ll also be playing in Cumberland from 10:30-11am at the Cumberland library. Prior to Stella’s performance in Cumberland, there will be a storytime with children’s librarian, Allison Trumble starting at 10am.

There are further incentives to attending Family Literacy Week events this year. At the Courtenay library, each child/family will receive a passport that they can get stamped at the interactive learning tables. A completed passport is a chance to win one of three fantastic draw prizes. Laughing Oyster Bookshop is also offering a 20% discount on all purchases made between and including January 27th and 30th, when a passport is shown!

If you attend the Comox event on January 28th you will receive a “badge”. If you present your badge at Blue Heron Books you will receive a 15% discount on purchases. And if you attend the Cumberland event on January 29th, Family Literacy Week participants who present their badge will get a free honey stick at Seeds! Furthermore, Family Literacy Week participants who present their passport or badge will have free admission to the Cumberland Museum on January 29th. The museum is open from 10-5pm.

“There are multiple reasons to come out and celebrate literacy and learning. We sincerely hope to see you at one of the libraries during Family Literacy Week!” exclaims Hoogland. For more information check out the Facebook page at facebook.com/comoxvalleyfamilyliteracyweek or CVLLA’s website at www.cvliteracy.ca. Family Literacy Week is a Raise-a-Reader funded event.

For more information contact Danielle Hoogland at dhoogland@shaw.ca or 250-897-2623