January 24, 2008
For immediate release
Islanders Encouraged to Participate in Family Literacy Activities
Family literacy refers to the many ways that families develop and use literacy skills, such as reading together, playing word games, writing an e-mail to a relative, or sharing daily tasks such as making a shopping list or using a recipe.
“Family Literacy Day is a great opportunity to learn more about how families can learn together. I encourage Islanders to participate in the many great activities being planned by schools and communities to make learning fun for the whole family,” said the minister.
A Family Literacy Day Celebration will be held Saturday, January 26 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery. Organized by the PEI Literacy Alliance, this free event for parents and their children will feature celebrity readers, a puppet show, crafts, activities for preschoolers, a reading tent, live music, snacks and more.
Schools and kindergartens are also involved in many family literacy activities. The Department of Education provided funding for 12 new family literacy projects throughout the Island. The family literacy grants are available to community groups who partner with schools or kindergartens to support literacy, numeracy and learning for the whole family.
The Spring Into Reading program was offered in Alberton, Souris, Mt. Stewart, Morell and Summerside. Georgetown will be offering the program this spring. This 12-week program strengthens the literacy skills of children in kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 2. Parents and children meet one evening a week at the school or library where children practice their reading skills while parents learn more about how to help their children learn to read. Similar projects were offered in Vernon River and Cardigan with the help of student teachers and UPEI researchers. These projects have all shown to significantly improve the children’s reading skills while increasing the parents’ knowledge and skills. They also increased the school’s capacity to engage parents to help with their children’s learning.
In Fortune and Borden, take-home literacy kits were assembled and sent home from school each week with the children. The kits included books, poems, puppets, CDs and other props which provided fun ways for family members to help children develop early reading, writing and math skills.
A peer tutoring program was offered at Sherwood Elementary School where Grade 5 and 6 French Immersion students were trained to help students in Grade 2 and 3 practice and improve their reading comprehension of French text. Many of these students do not get enough one-to-one interaction or practice at home because their parents do not speak French.
A Family Math project was offered at Gulf Shore Kindergarten. Parents, children and the kindergarten teacher gathered at the kindergarten in the evening to learn more about mathematical learning through games and literacy connections. The project introduced parents to fun ways to help children improve their math skills and gain appreciation for mathematics.
Minister Greenan said the promotion of family literacy is a major priority for the Department of Education and the school boards. “Student achievement is highly influenced by the way that learning is practiced and valued in the home,” said Minister Greenan. “We are encouraged by the success we are achieving through the projects to help parents learn more about how to support their children’s learning at home. We are also pleased with the strong partnerships that have formed between parents and teachers to help students succeed.”
For information on family literacy call the Department of Education at 368 6449 or contact the PEI Literacy Alliance at www.pei.literacy.ca