Celebrating National Family Literacy Day - January 27th

Tanis Harms, Community Learning Network

1 2 14 January 2016

Following the release of the new CALP Guidelines, many CALP organizations are venturing out to include Family Literacy in their programming for the first time. Family Literacy Day is a great opportunity to showcase this new area of programming and resources available to your community.

“Family Literacy Day is a national awareness initiative created by ABC Life Literacy Canada in 1999 and held annually on January 27 to raise awareness of the importance of reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities as a family.

Taking time every day to read or do a learning activity with children is crucial to a child’s development. Even just 15 minutes a day can improve a child’s literacy skills dramatically, and can help a parent improve their skills as well.” (Retrieved January 7, 2016 from http://abclifeliteracy.ca/family-literacy)


Why Celebrate “Family Literacy Day”?


  • Great Exposure for your CALP
    • Builds awareness of who your organization is and what your organization does
    • Promotes your new or upcoming Family Literacy programming
    • Connects CALP staff faces to your organization
    • Those who hear or participate in your event will likely talk about it with others
  • Fosters Partnerships
    • Creates or reinforces partnerships with community organizations
    • Builds a foundation on which to continue to partner
  • Learner Recruitment
    • Creates an opportunity to connect with potential families for upcoming Family Literacy programs
    • Creates an opportunity for those who are not interested in Family Literacy programs to find out the variety of other learning opportunities your organization provides
  • Funding Possibilities
    • Exposure helps potential funders become aware of who your organization is and what your organization does
    • Awareness opportunity for how community partners can support your organization better with funding or in-kind contributions


What Could Your CALP Do to Celebrate?


  • Have an “Open House” Event
    • Set up areas for family literacy fun & interaction
      • Reading Corner
      • Blocks Area
      • Playdough Corner
      • Craft Corner
      • Etc.
    • Include a table close to snacks, answer questions about your organization, provide information regarding upcoming programs and contact information.
  • Have a Free Book Exchange
    • Set up tables in different age group categories where those who come can “Bring a Book, Take a Book”.
    • Provide a bag to each family which includes your organization’s upcoming programs and contact information.
  • Have a “15 Minutes of Fun” Challenge
    • Set up a place where families can sign up to commit to having “15 Minutes of Fun” for a set amount of time (for example, 2 weeks or 1 month).
    • Collect prizes (from partners, etc.) and at the end of the set challenge time, do a draw for participant families.
    • Be sure to collect contact information including email addresses (with permission) to announce the winners (and of course, to include your organizations contact information with upcoming programs).
  • Have a Book Give Away
    • Collect donations of funds towards buying books or books themselves (new preferably) to give away – one to each family - at a popular community location.
    • Before giving the books away, print your organization’s contact information on office labels and stick these on the back or inside cover of each book.
    • Set up your organization’s booth/banner if possible in the location, and be sure to give away contact and upcoming program information with the free books.
  • Have a Community Wide Event
    • With partners, find an appropriate venue to set up for a couple of hours
    • Include an advertised schedule of events that may include:
      • Circle times of rhymes/songs/stories
        • Perhaps even a local “celebrity” (firefighter, policeman, politician, athlete, etc.) could read a book
        • If do not have a family literacy facilitator yet, perhaps a local librarian would step up to help out with this area
      • Activities (centres where families can interact)
      • Snacks
      • Give aways/draw prizes
      • Etc.
  • Distribute Information on Family Literacy
    • Print out documents about family literacy and distribute in key community locations (including grocery stores, libraries, etc.)
    • Be sure to also include your organizations information on what you distribute!


How Could Your CALP Get the Word Out?


  • Word of Mouth is always best!
  • Paper or electronic newsletters/flyers in your local schools, gas stations, grocery stores, libraries, community boards etc.
  • Radio advertisements (many radio stations have a free “Community Events” section for non-profits)
  • Social Media – advertise on your organizations page and ask it to be shared


Other Resources:


For some more ideas of encouraging “15 Minutes of Fun” with Families:

For some more ideas and resources of how to get the word out:

We'd love to hear about what Family Literacy Day CALP events have worked well in your community, and if you are planning anything new!

Tanis Harms
Regional Support Staff
Northern Alberta


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