Thom Barker headlines Story Time at the Smithers Library to kick off Literacy Week. (Marisca Bakker photo)

Literacy week encourages families to read together

Events being planned to celebrate reading and writing

It is family literacy week this week and it is being celebrated all over Smithers and the Hazeltons.

The theme for 2020 is “Let’s Read Together!” and the focus is on families reading together to connect, discover and enjoy.

According to a press release from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training more than 700,000 British Columbians are estimated to have significant literacy challenges and 45 per cent of adults in B.C. have some difficulty with daily living tasks due to limited literacy skills. Literacy challenges can include difficulty understanding newspapers, reading health information and following instruction manuals.

Also, according to the release, 52 per cent of adults in B.C. have difficulty in accomplishing some daily living tasks due to limited numeracy skills. Numeracy challenges can include difficulty calculating interest on a car loan, using information on a graph or calculating medicine dosage.

Community Organizer at the Storytellers’ Foundation Anissa Watson said the Learning Shop is hosting a family community kitchen on Thursday from 1-4 p.m.

“We find a good way to integrate literacy into family life is through recipes, building recipes and working in the kitchen together,” she said. “We usually have a family-based activity that families can do together.”

The Hazelton Library is hosting a pyjama story time today from 6-6:45 p.m.

The Smithers Public Library is celebrating by putting out activity sheets in the children’s room for families to do together and kicked off the week with a children’s story time by The Interior News editor Thom Barker last Saturday.

Library director Wendy Wright said literacy is nothing less than transformative.

“The ability to read and write is essential for understanding the world around you, being able to seize and utilize opportunities, and connecting and interacting with others across time and distance,” she said. “A child’s reading ability in elementary school is a major determinant of their future academic achievement and income level as an adult.”

Wright added that today literacy means more than reading and writing.

“It extends to other foundational skills necessary for successfully navigating our modern world. Computer literacy is vital for everyone whether they are applying for a job, filing an application to the government, or viewing photos of relatives living far away. Media literacy is knowing how to evaluate the information you see online and be able to recognize whether it comes from a reliable, unbiased source. As our world changes, so do the skills that we require.”

The library also offers early literacy programs for children. Babytime and Toddlertime are offered on Monday mornings and Storytime for preschool-aged children on Wednesday mornings.

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