25 Jan Family Literacy Day on January 27 encourages families to embrace the outdoors
Families, libraries and literacy groups across the country are getting ready to once again celebrate the annual Family Literacy Day, which takes place on January 27th.
This year’s theme is “Learning in the Great Outdoors”, which encourages families to make outdoor time fun family learning time all while enjoying the wonders of Canada’s Great Outdoors. Spending time in nature provides many benefits, not just for bodies, but for minds too.
Scientists suggest that exposure to nature improves a child’s ability to learn and can even improve grades, especially in disadvantaged children. Experiments indicate that teaching in an outside setting using traditional methods improves retention. This retention is effective across a broad student population and can occur in a variety of subject areas, such as biology and math.
After two difficult years spending much time indoors physically distancing, this year’s Family Literacy Day theme encourages Canadians to get outside and exercise both their minds and bodies together as a family.
“Literacy and learning as a family should always be made a priority, since spending time together daily as a family can help increase the literacy skills of both children and adults,” says Elizabeth Robinson, Director of Programs at ABC Life Literacy Canada. “There are many opportunities for teachable moments when spending time outdoors. Whether it’s learning about a tree on your street, calculating the distance on a walk, or using snow to conduct a fun science experiment, learning is all around us.”
Created in 1999 by ABC Life Literacy Canada, Family Literacy Day aims to encourage reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities as a family. Each year, groups across the country take part by hosting events that include fun-filled learning activities.
Award-winning Canadian author and modeling clay illustrator Barbara Reid is once again acting as Honourary Chair of Family Literacy Day. Reid will be hosting a virtual event for families across the country that will include a demonstration on how to use clay to create a picture. Families can register for the event here.
For those who want to take part in Family Literacy Day, simply visit FamilyLiteracyDay.ca to access free learning activities and materials, or to find a local event. Here are a few of the events taking place across the country:
- Literacy New Westminster in New Westminster, BC is hosting a free event open to the public, including kids of all ages and their parents. Kids will receive a free book and participate in an outdoor story walk while parents will gain useful tips and tools to promote literacy with their children.
- Centre for Family Literacy in Edmonton, AB is hosting a virtual event complete with story time, scavenger hunts, fun yoga musical activities and more. The whole family can join in the free, fun activities centered around the theme “Learning in the Great Outdoors”.
- The Community Association for Lasting Success (CALS) in Vegreville, AB is hosting outdoor games and winter family fun at the Lion’s Club Splash Park. Activities include horse drawn wagon rides, hot chocolate, warming fires with the Vegreville Fire Department, and much more – all in celebration of family literacy in the great outdoors!
- Prince Albert Literacy Network in Prince Albert, SK is asking residents to come walk to the mall as you read the story, “When the Trees Crackle with Cold”, by Saskatchewan author Miriam Korner. Join the Mann Art gallery for a book inspired art project. When complete, see the friendly staff at the Prince Albert Literacy Network for your take home kit filled with ideas to go and “Learn in the Great Outdoors” as a family.
- Moose Jaw and District Literacy Network in Moose Jaw, SK is challenging children and their parents and caregivers to take part in 20 “challenges” throughout the month of January. Participants are asked to email photos of them overcoming the challenges with recognition and prizes to be awarded January 27.
- Guelph Public Library in Guelph, ON is celebrating Family Literacy Day with Guelph Firefighters. Join a special online storytime that is all about playing safe in the great outdoors.
- Literacy Lambton in Sarnia, ON is partnering with Lambton County Library and EarlyON Centres to host Lambton County’s Great Outdoor StoryWalks, which will highlight ways to build literacy in the great outdoors. Watch for a Pop-Up StoryWalk in downtown Sarnia’s McGibbon Park featuring “It’s a Mitig!”
- Monica Place in Waterloo, ON is encouraging participants to bundle up and ‘walk and roll” with their young families in their own neighbourhood, while identifying and talking about everything they see. Scavenger hunt ideas will be provided. Following the walk, there will be a virtual Zoom group for stories and songs with a related theme.
For more information about Family Literacy Day, to access free resources or to find an event in your community, visit FamilyLiteracyDay.ca.