Celebrate your heritage with Family Literacy Day on January 27

On January 27, 2023, families, libraries and literacy groups across the country will once again celebrate Family Literacy Day, an annual initiative that aims to encourage reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities as a family.

This year’s theme is “Celebrate your heritage”, which encourages families to take time to explore and learn about their heritage together. Researching your heritage as a family encourages the development of many literacy skills, such as reading, comprehension and digital skills. It also offers opportunities to improve cognition and self-esteem. Reminiscing and exploring the past can have deep psychological benefits for older people, giving them a chance to reconnect with their own memories while also learning new things about family members they never knew. Some studies have shown that reminiscing can actually lower a person’s blood pressure and heart rate.

“Learning as a family not only helps to build strong literacy skills for both adults and children, but it also strengthens family bonds and ties,” says Alison Howard, Executive Director of ABC Life Literacy Canada. “Researching genealogy makes for a great family activity, involving siblings, children and grandchildren. It can bring family members together around a shared interest and also inspire intergenerational storytelling and sharing.”

Family Literacy Day was started in 1999 by ABC Life Literacy Canada. Each year it is celebrated across the country by groups who host events that include fun-filled learning activities

Award-winning Canadian author and modeling clay illustrator Barbara Reid is once again the Honorary Chair of Family Literacy Day. Reid will be hosting a virtual event for families across the country that will include a demonstration on how to use clay to create a picture. Families can register for the free event here.

“I’m delighted to be partnering with ABC Life Literacy Canada again to talk about the importance of family literacy,” says Reid. “I am particularly excited about this year’s Family Literacy Day theme because it truly offers a great opportunity for families to come together and learn something that is of interest to everyone.”

For those who want to take part in Family Literacy Day, simply visit FamilyLiteracyDay.ca to access free learning activities and materials, or to find a local event. Here are a few of the events taking place across the country:

  • Bowen Island Library in Bowen Island, BC is holding various events during the week leading up to Family Literacy Day including: storytime, babytime, game night, and ‘crafternoon’ collages.
  • Lethbridge Public Library in Lethbridge, AB is hosting a Family Literacy Day Bingo game in the Kids’s Corner of the main branch.
  • Moose Jaw Literacy Network in Moose Jaw, SK is hosting a Hoorah for Me! Family Literacy Day celebration feature developmental activities based on the theme of celebrating heritage (cooking, dancing, craft, book sharing, conversation) for families and children at the Family Resource Centre.
  • Literacy Quebec in Montreal, QC is hosting a virtual concert with singer/songwriter Jeremy Fisher. Join the event on Facebook Live to hear songs from Jeremy’s new TV show, Jeremy and Jazzy.
  • Montreal Children’s Hospital in Montreal, QC is hosting an annual Family Literacy Day Talk called, “Developing a Passion for Reading.”
  • Guelph Public Library in Guelph, ON is hosting a family storytime at the Westminster Square Branch full of fun songs and stories about local community heroes. Registration is not required.
  • Literacy Lambton in Sarnia, ON is hosting Stories on the Farm. The Event runs from 10am to noon at Sarnia’s Canatara Park at the animal farm entrance. Enjoy stories, dancing, singing crafts and more in The Log Cabin, Ted Leaver building, Carriage House, and Barn.
  • Symphony Nova Scotia in Halifax, NS is hosting a Pjila’si Session with Rebecca Thomas, a Mi’kmaw activist, author and spoken word artist. Rebecca will join Symphony Nova Scotia to create a new multimedia musical experience that can be shared by all ages, free and online.

For more information about Family Literacy Day, to access free resources or to find an event in your community, visit www.FamilyLiteracyDay.ca.