Angus Wellburn, 4, and his sister, Ida, 1, with their mom, Jane Wellburn, read a children’s story posted on the window of the Williams Lake Library as part of an ongoing literacy week display. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Angus Wellburn, 4, and his sister, Ida, 1, with their mom, Jane Wellburn, read a children’s story posted on the window of the Williams Lake Library as part of an ongoing literacy week display. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

REACH-A-READER 2021: Family literacy – stretching the moment

What does Family Literacy actually mean and why is it so important?

Carla Bullinger

Special to the Tribune

Every year we spend a week celebrating Family Literacy – but what does family literacy actually mean and why is it so important?

In its simplest form, family literacy is a term to explain the way parents, children, caregivers and extended family members use literacy at home and within the community. Family literacy happens naturally during our daily routines and helps children and adults complete tasks together.

Family literacy is such an important subject to discuss. The more opportunities we give our children to develop their literacy skills will greatly benefit them far into their future.

You can positively influence your child’s life in areas such as health, employment, economic status, and life expectancy just by involving and encouraging them to take part in daily activities.

I like to think of family literacy as “stretching the moment.” An ordinary everyday moment can become much more than that when used as a teaching tool.

READ MORE: Avocating for literacy

When walking up stairs with a child, count the number of stairs, or use the words “up” or “down.”

During laundry time, have your child or children sort the clothes into colours, pair the socks, or count and name the items.

When driving or walking downtown, point out signs and talk about what they mean.

Visit the murals in downtown Williams Lake. Use them to build a conversation with your child by asking them what they see and how they make them feel.

Who would have thought that bland household chores can be turned into pivotal learning moments! Not only that, but it helps build family connections and create memories. This simple task will help children develop listening skills and evolve vocabulary. The possibilities are endless and so is the learning.

The good news is that we can all contribute to this positive development because most of us have children in our lives: our own children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, friends’ children, and children who live in our neighbourhood and communities. We challenge you to find ways to “stretch the moment” – today and everyday!

Carla Bullinger is the literacy outreach co-ordinator with Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy. She can be reached at carla@caribooliteracy.com.


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