Literacy is social, not just about the books

 Family Literacy Day is coming up on January 27th. This annual event reminds me of the challenges I encountered years ago reading to my young son.  He could hardly sit still to eat a meal, let alone long enough for me to read him a book. I knew how important reading to him was, but struggled with getting him to sit on the couch with me for longer than 3 minutes!

Thankfully, literacy is much more than the ability to read and write. Literacy is actually very social.  You are developing literacy throughout the day when you share activities, talk and play with your children. Here are some family literacy ideas sure to get even the busiest toddler engaged:

  • Sing and say rhymes often each day.  Sing in the car.
  • Name things as you go about your day, for example “red shoes,” “soft, grey kitten”
  • Talk to your child and give them a chance to answer you.
  • Keep paper and crayons, pencils available for drawing and writing.
  • Point out familiar signs and labels in your environment, for example cereal boxes, favourite restaurant logos.
  • Tell stories about your family, or make up tales.
  • Read the mail together.
  • FRead recipes together at mealtime.
  • Re-read your child’s favourite books.
  • Go to the library often for a variety of books.
  • Read with passion, change your voice and read the ending slowly. Read aloud every day with your child!
  • Talk about books as you are reading them; relate them to your family.
  • Check out other fun (and free!) ideas here

Celebrate Family Literacy Day on January 27th!  Family Literacy Day is a national initiative that promotes the importance of reading and learning together as a family.

Remember: “The time a parent spends reading aloud with his or her children will result in a higher level of attachment, a sense of security, and knowledge by children that their parent feels they are worthwhile people with whom to spend time.” (Paul Kropp, How to Raise a Reader, 1987)

Do you struggle with keeping your child engaged when reading? What works for you – or not. Let us know.

As always, if you’d like more ideas, or have a question, talk to one of us directly:

  • Leave us a comment below
  • Talk to us on Twitter: @haltonparents
  • Email us at
  • Call HaltonParents by dialing 311 or 905-825-6000 for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

About this guest blogger:

Sharon Campbell-Springstead is an Early Literacy Specialist with the Ontario Early Years Centres in Halton.  She has worked in this capacity for the last 11 years.  Prior to this she worked as a teacher, Early Childhood Educator and administrator in programs for 25 years.

This entry was posted in Babies, Children & Tweens, Parenting, Parenting Your Baby, Parenting Your Child/Tween, Parenting Your Toddler & Preschooler, Play, Growth & Development, Play, Growth & Development for Babies, Preparing for Kindergarten, Toddlers & Preschoolers and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Literacy is social, not just about the books

  1. Pingback: Halton committed to family literacy | Chair's Corner – Halton Region, Ontario

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