This January 27 is the 20th Anniversary of National Family Literacy Day. What started in 1999 as an ABC Life Literacy Canada awareness day is now celebrated in communities across the country. NWT communities are no different. We love to see all the fun activities groups, schools, families and others use to mark this day.
The NWT Literacy Council has hosted pyjama parties, puppet shows, family fun fairs, and so much more. Celebrating Family Literacy is important to us, since families are a child’s first teachers. Parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents and other caregivers play a big role helping a child’s literacy and language development. Parents and caregivers help children learn through daily activities. It might seem like an ordinary activity, but all our interactions with young children are chances to learn—for both children and adults.
When families sing songs together, a child is learning the rhythm and sound of language, while the adult might learn new strategies to calm a fussy baby or a fun song to sing. When children hold a crayon or learn how to use scissors while doing a craft, they practice their fine and gross motor skills, problem solving skills, and creativity. Adults practice communication skills while explaining steps, and teamwork by helping only when needed.
This year, we are celebrating the International Year of Indigenous Languages during our special events. We encourage families to spend Family Literacy Day talking, reading or singing in your Indigenous language. Even if you only know a few words or phrases, this can help your child to learn. Children learn languages best during the early years of life, and can learn multiple languages at once. Even if your children are older, it’s never too late to start.
Family Literacy is about having fun and spending time together. This year, find fun ways to incorporate language learning into what you do every day.
— Katie Johnson, Family Literacy
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