By Submitted Article on February 8, 2020.
PALLISER REGIONAL SCHOOLS
Anyone who showed up for Milo Community School’s celebration of Family Literacy Day on Jan. 28 hoping to find a quiet corner to curl up in with a good book and a loved one, may have left disappointed.
“We were hoping to get some people into the building to come and share with us, but we also wanted to make sure people realize that reading isn’t just about books,” said Principal Kerry Aiken of the Milo Community School event. “So we wanted to have different activities for the kids, having exposure to things like recipes in the kitchen and the physical literacy piece, and just trying to engage people in some sort of literacy activity.”
Staff and students were joined by family and community partners in rotating through several literacy-based, activity stations spread throughout the school. They took part in charades, learned the Blackfoot language, followed directions to build intricate paper airplanes, and scoured the library bookshelves during a scavenger hunt.
Having worked up an appetite, they gathered in the school gym for a potluck lunch to wrap up Family Literacy Day. As her boys Cody and Keegan enjoyed the bounty, Katie Walker explained why she felt the need to support the event.
“I think literacy and math are the top skills that children need to develop, and if they don’t develop it at a young age it is such a learning block,” she said.
Family Literacy Day activities mixed younger students with their older counterparts. Walker appreciated the blend, as those needing help with their reading could get it, while those helping could experience a sense of accomplishment as well.
The theme of the national event this year was ‘Take 20 in 2020’ and spoke to the importance of setting aside time in a family’s daily routine to learn together.
According to ABC Life Literacy Canada – the originator of Family Literacy Day back in 1999 – parents’ reading habits play a large role in determining how often their children read. Children whose parents are involved with them in family literacy activities score 10 points higher on standardized reading tests, while children of low-literate parents are exposed to fewer words and enter kindergarten with a much larger skills gap than their peers.
Walker started out with Cody reading to her when he was younger. Now she and her 10-year-old are in the midst of reading the Narnia series together, and the enjoyment she gets from that routine is difficult to hide.
“I was thinking last night. . . I hope I can still read to him when he’s in high school,” she said, with a slight chuckle.
Walker said four-year-old Keegan has also taken quickly to the printed word – partly to be like his older brother – and recently put together a handmade book with the help of his mother.
For more information on Family Literacy Day, go to http://bit.ly/3aVwJAh
Milo Community School, which serves students from kindergarten to Grade 9 within Palliser Regional Schools, is located about 45 kilometres northeast of Vulcan.