Celebrate active learning during Family Literacy Week

Across BC, literacy organizations are celebrating Family Literacy Week, January 24-31, 2021 with a “Let’s Be Active!” theme.

“I love the active theme this year,” says Joan Exley, literacy outreach coordinator for more than 20 years at the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) in Nelson, BC. A former teacher with a background in Special Education, Joan recognizes the links between learning and movement.

“Physical activity has strong connections to brain development. Research shows that being active increases neurotransmitters and this affects how we feel both mentally and physically. Being active helps get the brain ready to learn.”

She also has first-hand experience in her own family.

“In grade four, my daughter was struggling with being focused and with confidence in developing her reading skills. She learns best while moving, so she would do spelling and multiplication while skipping in the kitchen. Squeezing a ball of clay or stress ball helped her to focus when she was reading.”

Family Literacy Week in 2021

CBAL will provide families with a game board with activity ideas for each day of Family Literacy Week. Through social media channels, local service providers like the Nelson Public Library, Nelson & District Youth Centre, Childcare Resource & Referral, Nelson Family Place and Strong Start will promote one family activity on a specific day. For example: build a snowman, go for a hike or play soccer in the snow. Participants can share their activity on social media or email CBAL directly to receive a free book.

“We want to celebrate participation in a bigger way, so rather than a draw, we plan to give a book to everyone who participates – children and adults.”

Providing books is a big part of CBAL’s mission and this is one more way to get books into hands.

“Research shows that when families have more access to books, it’s a contributing factor to children being ready to learn and to being successful in school.”

Family literacy programs – like Mother Goose sessions with stories, rhymes, songs and crafts – are another great way to prepare young children for learning.

“These programs look like they are geared toward the child, but they are actually focused on helping parents in supporting their children’s learning. Sometimes it’s as simple as helping parents realize the value of sorting socks together – talking about colours, patterns, matching and counting. Family literacy is as simple as weaving learning into daily life.”


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