Tag Archives: home literacy

Fostering Home Literacy

A while ago, my (Cathy’s) niece asked me why I only gave her (and her brother) books and crafts as gifts.  I had suspected that she was sometimes disappointed her gift wasn’t a toy. I thought carefully before I answered.  “Well honey”, I said, ” I want you and your brother to grow up knowing you are smart and creative.  And I think books and arts and crafts help you to know that about yourself”     She pondered that for  few seconds and then said, “Ok, thanks”.  We have never looked back.

Lately, my niece has taken to the magnetic poetry on my fridge (words on little magnets that you can move around to create meaningful messages).  When she first noticed it, we only used it to find a word she knew.  Then she moved on to constructing a sentence.  When she came last weekend, she wanted to create a story.  It was challenging, because she could only words she could find on the refrigerator.  I was amazed at how long she stayed with the task.  I was also intrigued by the fact she knew two words were synonyms.  She didn’t call them that, she just knew they were the right word but spelled the wrong way.  I was delighted how long we spent together looking for the right words to move our story forward.  It ended up being a ‘scary’ story because the there was  storm and the puppy screamed, “which can only happen in a not real, scary story” I was told.   My niece was so thrilled with the results she invited several  people at the family party to come and read it.

When we felt our little project was complete, I said  to her “Brook, you are so creative and so smart” and she said, “I know”. That was my reward.  She did know it.  I also know what her next gift will be… a box of magnetic poetry for her own refridgerator at home.  I don’t know if her parents will appreciate it, but she will.  And that’s all that matters.





Family Literacy Day

Today is Family Literacy Day in Canada. http://abclifeliteracy.ca/fld/family-literacy-day
It is a day that recognizes the importance of families building literacy skills together.  Looking back, what did family literacy look like in your household? In what capacity did Young girl in schoolliteracy development occur? In my home I (Yiola) taught my parents the language of English and my parents taught me the value of English.
I find Family Literacy Day to be a very well intentioned initiative.  The ideas presented in the link on family literacy are interesting.  As a Teacher Educator who teaches from a critical perspective I cannot help but ask, how can the concept of family literacy be made accessible for all families? How do we make the concept more inclusive?  When thinking about ‘Daily Literacy Activities’ I wonder, what can we add to the list found on the website?
See: http://abclifeliteracy.ca/files/Daily_literacy_activities.pdf
I plan to share this list with my student teachers and ask them for additional activities to include that may draw in a variety of families.  I’m thinking of multilingual processes, digital opportunities, oral traditions.
Happy Family Literacy Day!