Family Literacy Day takes place every January 27 to raise awareness about the importance of reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities as a family. Since 1999, thousands of schools, libraries, literacy organizations and other community groups have taken part in the initiative. ABC creates free learning and promotional resources for anyone that wants to get involved. Taking time every day to read or do a learning activity with children is crucial to a child’s development, improving a child’s literacy skills dramatically, and can help a parent improve their skills as well.
The theme for 2022 is, Learning in the Great Outdoors. Spending time in nature provides many benefits, not just for bodies, but for minds too. This year, get outside and exercise both your mind and body together as a family. You can make outdoor time fun family learning time all while enjoying the wonders of Canada’s Great Outdoors!
The event is organised by ABC Life Literacy Canada, a non-profit organization that aims to strengthen organizations that promote adult learning. It develops and supports the use of high-quality introductory learning materials and resources written in clear language.
The statistics support the claim that literacy is a positive benefit for people of all ages, but children, in particular, are helped enormously by being involved in literacy projects. ABC Life Literacy Canada compiled the following information:
Children spend five times as much time outside the classroom as they do in school, so parents and caregivers need the tools to support their learning. Children whose parents are involved with them in family literacy activities score 10 points higher on standardized reading tests. One year of parental education has a bigger positive impact on whether a son or daughter will attend a postsecondary institution than an extra $50,000 in parental income. A mother’s reading skill is the greatest factor to affect her children’s future academic success, outweighing other factors, like neighborhood and family income.
Here are 10 outdoor learning activities you can do as a family to celebrate Family Literacy Day and practice learning together year-round.
Outdoor scavenger hunt. Make a list of commonly found outdoor items, then go on a walk together with your list and see if you can find all the items.
Create a nature journal. Using a notebook, draw pictures and write stories about the different outdoor areas you’ve explored and the trees or animals you’ve come across.
Learn about winter species. Research online or at the library about winter birds and other animals in your region. Then, next time you’re outside, see if you can find any of the species you’ve learned about.
Nature hike. Get some fresh air and exercise while practicing your math. Time your hike, work out the distance, and calculate your average speed on your hike.
Make story stones. Find rocks outside and draw a different nature-themed picture on each. Then take turns telling stories using the stones.
Head in the clouds. Look at the different clouds in the sky and see if the shapes of the clouds look like familiar objects, such as animals or people.
Number walk: As you put on your shoes, choose something you want to count during your walk. It could be dogs, trees, stop signs, cars—anything you want! On your walk, count how many you can find.
Snow art: Use emptied dish soap bottles filled with water and food colouring to write messages and draw in the snow.
A course of course: Build an obstacle course in your backyard or at a park and draw a map of how to go through it from beginning to end.
Adopt a tree. Pick a nearby tree that is special to you and spend time observing and learning about the tree.
So get involved in Family Literacy Day on January 27. For ideas, information, or to register for the many on-line events, go to: https://abclifeliteracy.ca.