Listowel Banner editorial
Now that summer is officially here, parents and children are excited to start their summer vacation. But just because school’s out doesn’t mean we should take a vacation from learning and family literacy.
Family literacy refers to the many ways families develop and use literacy skills, from enjoying a storybook together at bedtime and during the day, to playing with word games, singing, writing to a relative or friend, sharing day-to-day tasks such as making a shopping list or using a recipe, and surfing the Internet for fun and interesting sites (Family Literacy in Canada: Profiles of Effective Practices, Adele Thomas, Soleil Publishing Inc., 1998).
Here are several more facts regarding family literacy:
• Research shows children have a better chance of becoming fully literate adults if reading is encouraged in the home (Literacy BC).
• Many studies have shown that improving parents’ skills directly and positively affects the language development of children (Literacy Skills for the Knowledge Society, IALS 1997, page 62).
• Studies show beyond dispute that children’s achievements in school improves with increased parent involvement in education (Henderson, 1998).
• Connections between parents’ levels of educational attainment and children’s academic scores have been established in a number of studies. The connections have also been made between socio-economic status, education and literacy levels of parents and of the children of those parents (Literacy Skills for the Knowledge Society, IALS 1997 pp. 30-31).
Research shows that children who don’t read over the summer lose some of the literacy skills they learned during the year, and have a difficult time adjusting to school in the fall. So try out these fun activities from ABC Life Literacy Canada to keep skills sharp all season long!
1. Follow a recipe together and make a dish for a summer picnic. It’s a fun way for your family to practice reading, math and comprehension.
2. This summer’s Olympic Games offer so many learning opportunities. Count the medals Canada receives, research a sport like fencing or map out the city of London.
3. Road trip! When traveling in the car, read signs, billboards and licence plates together and show children how to find your destination using a map.
4. Head to the beach with a good book. Not only are there some great summer reads out there, but children learn from their parents, so let them catch you reading.
5. Zoo outings and visits to museums and galleries can be fun and educational. Be sure to read all the descriptions on exhibits and displays.
6. Don’t forget to write! Send friends and relatives postcards from different places along the way, or better yet, send one to yourself as a visual reminder of your trip.
7. Bring some board games to the cottage for a family game night. Board games are a fun way to improve literacy skills.
8. On a rainy day, surf the Internet for information on your hobbies, or the latest summer movies.
9. Create a family trip mini-blog to share with friends and family. It’s easy using services like Tumblr.com
10. Scrap it: Build a book of memories during your trip. Include pictures, souvenir tickets and brochures and ask family members to write comments and captions.
11. Of course, read the newspaper.
For a child, the more time spent with a parent reading aloud increases his or her level of attachment, enhances a sense of security, and imparts the knowledge that their parent feels they are worthwhile people with whom to spend time (How to Raise a Reader, 1987).
For more literacy tips and activities, visit www.abclifeliteracy.ca.
- Special to The Banner