Literacy is the ability to understand the rapidly evolving world around us and makes us resilient in the face of turbulent change.

Literacy is the ability to understand the rapidly evolving world around us and makes us resilient in the face of turbulent change.

Lifelong Learning Begins At Birth

Literacy is the ability to understand the rapidly evolving world around us and makes us resilient in the face of turbulent change.

Katherine Hough

What? You expect my baby to read before she walks or talks?

No, not read but when you read, sing, talk or play with your infant you encourage her development of all the skills she will need later on to grow and learn and succeed.

You, the parent, hold the keys to your child’s love of lifelong learning because literacy is the ability to successfully navigate the challenges of an ever changing world! Each touch and word helps build your child’s literacy skills.

Parents are their children’s first and most important teachers and so they need the support and resources to help them to be the best teachers they can.

Parents of very young children encourage literacy through singing, speaking and playing with their children. Rhymes, stories, crafts — all provide everyday learning opportunities. Speaking to your child encourages him to talk and develop language skills. Exposure to more than one language increases the child’s ability to develop verb nal and cognitive skills.

Everyone needs literacy skills: reading, writing, speaking, listening, numbers and technological. These skills are used daily at home, school, work — literally everywhere. Literacy is the ability to understand the rapidly evolving world around us and makes us resilient in the face of turbulent change.

When we encourage learning in our children, it improves their chances of success, just as it does for us when we improve our own literacy skills. Families who spend a minimum of 15 minutes per day together focused on literacy activities such as reading, singing, learning to play musical instruments or playing board games increase their literacy capacity. These types of family activities create healthy learning opportunities for both children and adults. So put down the cell phone, shut off the computer and video games and talk, play, laugh and connect!

The Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) manages the two StrongStart programs hosted at Amy Woodland Elementary School and Steeples Elementary School — both are free and welcome all pre-school aged children along with a parent or caregiver. StrongStarts provide art, singing, science, circle time, gym time and snacks. There are other free family play programs in Cranbrook – check them out!

For other early childhood programs in Cranbrook contact Shannon at cranbrookearlyyears@gmail.com or Patricia at ekidsfirst@shaw.ca or find a full calendar of kids’ activities, including Strong Start schedules, at the East Kootenay Children First website at  www.ekkids.ca.

Join us on Tuesday, Jan. 27, at the Manual Training School in the Public Library for our Family Literacy Celebration from 5:30 pm – 8pm. Family activities begin at 5:30pm followed by the launch of Cranbrook Clicks, honouring of the Creative Writing Project participants and announcement of Cranbrook’s 2014 Literacy Champion.

CBAL also sponsors the Youth Writing Project inviting youth aged 10-14 to meet twice monthly to learn and improve their writing skills – poetry, graphic novels, prose – anything goes!

All CBAL programs are free.  For more information about CBAL programs in Cranbrook or to register please call Katherine at 250-417-2896 or email khough@cbal.org.

Katherine Hough is Cranbrook Community Literacy Coordinator with Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy