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Family Literacy Day promotes 15-minute learning activities

(NC) Even after kids have started school, parents can encourage their curiosity and confidence by making learning a daily part of home life. Spending at least 15 minutes a day engaged in learning activities develops literacy, numeracy, and other skills essential for success in school.

Family Literacy Day is on January 27 and ABC Life Literacy Canada offers the following suggestions on their 15 Minutes of Fun theme – activities that parents and children can do together:

• Choose Your Own ABC is a game that develops thinking skills, and is great for car trips, waiting rooms and rainy days. Choose a subject (for example, grandmother) and for each letter of the alphabet, take turns thinking of something that begins with that letter. For grandmother, things beginning with C could include caring, cookies and condo. No need to keep score – just move on to the next letter when you can't think of anything else. Subjects can be sports, food, seasons, animals, or anything else.

• I Spy, the classic childhood game of observation (I spy with my little eye something that is green), can be adapted for language patterns (…something that rhymes with cat), spelling (…something that starts with C), shape recognition (…something that is a circle) and many other variations.

• Counting Walk develops numeracy and observation skills. Take a walk and count specific types of items on porches, lawns, windows and store displays. For example, you can count pumpkins during Halloween and lawn chairs during summer. During an election period, count the signs for different candidates and predict who might win the election based on how many you count. Have your child create a simple chart and fill it in as you go.

• Board games like checkers, card games like crazy eights, and word games like Boggle develop skills like numeracy, problem solving and reading. Young children often do better than adults at visual perception, so games like Memory (matching pairs of illustrated cards) and Set (identifying similarities and differences of patterned cards) are worth seeking out in toy stores.

• Reading aloud can continue to be an enjoyable family learning activity long after kids are able to read by themselves. Keep reading stories at bedtime and at other times. Encourage kids to read aloud too –take turns reading pages from favourite books. Reading aloud is one of the joys of parenthood – make it last as long as possible.

Family Literacy Day began on January 27, 1999 – and since then, thousands of activities and events are held annually in homes, schools, learning centres, and in literacy organizations across the country. More information can be found online at

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