aussi disponible en français
October 19, 2005
For immediate release
Parents Receive Tools to Help Children Become Good Readers
Community and Cultural Affairs
The new PEI Reads project has five parts. Parents of all 4,600 children in grades one to three will receive a parent guide to help children learn to read. Each child will be presented with a new library key card. A new website will provide information for people with various reading interests and abilities. Family Story Nights will be held at Island schools, and a public education campaign will be launched to promote family literacy across the province.
Premier Pat Binns took part in the project launch at St. Jean Elementary School. He advised that the project is for parents of students in grades one to three, the time when most children learn to read. “Helping children learn to read is one of the most important things that parents can ever do. Reading is the key to all learning,” he said. “Children who are good readers get off to a good start in school and they develop a positive attitude towards learning. I encourage all parents to check their children’s backpacks for this helpful information.”
Beginning this week, the guides will be sent home with all students in grades one to three. The 24-page guide, How to Help Your Child Learn to Read and Love Reading, contains information on how children learn to read, how to encourage reading at home, and recommended reading for students in grades one to three.
On the front of each guide is a new public library key card for each child. The card can be attached to the parent’s key ring or to the child’s backpack. Parents must come to the public library with their child the first time to activate the card.
Premier Binns presented the first children with their new public library key cards today and encouraged them to use their school library and local public library. “Libraries provide us with thousands of books, more than we could ever have on our own. At provincial public libraries, we can borrow up to 25 books at one time. We can also search, reserve and renew library books using the Internet,” he said. “With 26 library branches across the province, Canadian Library Week is a perfect opportunity for all Islanders to rediscover their local library.”
The PEI Reads project was developed by the Department of Education, the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs - Provincial Library Service, the PEI Literacy Alliance, the PEI Home and School Federation and La Fédération des parents de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard.
Dr. Ray Doiron, chair of the Literacy Alliance, said family literacy has a powerful influence on a child’s ability to learn. “First children learn to read and then they read to learn,” he said. “Families help children get ready to read long before they begin school. By continuing to read together, family members are a big help to children while they are learning to read and after they have learned to read on their own. Children need plenty of support as they go through all these stages.”
Mr. Doiron said the parent guide has helpful information for parents who want to improve their own reading skills. “Every year hundreds of adult Islanders improve their reading skills because they want to help their children learn,” he said.
As part of PEI Reads, Family Story Nights will be hosted by Home and School members, working closely with principals and school staff. At the Story Nights, children will enjoy a story and a snack while parents attend a 30-minute presentation on fun and easy ways to help children with reading at home. The sessions are being held October 18 at Tignish Elementary School, October 28 at Parkside Elementary School, November 2 at St. Jean Elementary School, and November 17 at Fortune Consolidated School. Some of the readers include UPEI hockey players, children’s librarian Barbara Kissick, children’s author Deirdre Kessler, and Karen Mair of CBC Radio.
Martha Ellis, president of the Home and School Federation said the story nights are a good example of how Home and School is working in communities throughout the Island to increase parent involvement in education. “Parents are their children’s first and most important teachers,” she said. “When parents get involved in their child’s learning, they have a positive influence on their child’s success throughout their school years.”
Nicole Drouin of La Fédération des parents de l'Î.-P.-É. advised that the parent guides that will be distributed in the French language schools will be bilingual. “This will meet the needs of children who have both a francophone and an anglophone parent,” she said.
The parent guide is now available in both languages on the Internet at peireads.com. The website contains other helpful information such as recommended reading and links for boys, teens and young adults.
A public awareness campaign will be launched over the next few weeks to encourage Island families to read and learn together.
Funding for the project was provided through the Partnerships for Children Fund of the Prince Edward Island Healthy Child Development Strategy.