Reading, writing and running: it’s all literacy

Reading, writing and running: it’s all literacy

By now, you may have heard about physical literacy. Physical literacy is the motivation, confidence, physical skills (competence), and knowledge to be physically active for life.  But you may wonder, as did one of our Facebook friends, what does this have to do with literacy?

There are many definitions of literacy, and the definition has broadened from the traditional one of being able to read and write. I particularly like a literacy definition, developed at a literacy summit in Arviat, Nunavut.  It states: All Nunavummiut have the right to participate fully and be included in their community. Literacy is much more than reading and writing, it also means being connected to your language and culture. Literacy involves everyone and is fundamental to the development of health and well‐being. Literacy is fostering and nurturing understanding, knowledge and wisdom.

If we believe that literacy involves everyone and is fundamental to the development of health and wellbeing, then we can see where there are some intersections with physical activity.  Some experts believe it’s more important academically for children to be physically active after school as it is for them to do homework. Becoming physically literate helps you live a long and healthy life – being physically active decreases the risk of many chronic diseases.

At the same time, there are many ways to include and reinforce traditional literacies while being active. 

  • Read a map and hike a trail
  • Use your technology skills to geocache
  • Count your repetitions while working out
  • Calculate the angle while shooting at a net

The NWT Literacy Council encourages everyone to be active during NWT Literacy Week (September 24-30, 2017), and throughout the year. Many community groups are taking advantage of our funding to organize special physical literacy activities across the territory.  The Hay River Committee for Persons with Disabilities is offering bowling and literacy game activities; Ndilo and Dettah are organizing a scavenger hunt in the Wıı̀lıı̀deh language, and the Deh Gah School in Fort Providence is organizing a week of fun physical literacy events.  Apply today for up to $300 for your event.

Please let us know what you did for NWT Literacy Week – phone us, email us, or join us in our conversation on Facebook.  We love to connect with people throughout the North and beyond.

— Kathryn Barry Paddock

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