Family fun positively impacts literacy skills

Literacy is so important and it takes only 15 minutes a day to make a difference

Eli Tiessen reads his story “Eli the Explorer Goes to the Jungle” at the Storytime in the Park book launch on Sunday at Hope Library.

Every year, ABC Canada promotes Family Literacy Day on January 27. The theme this year was “15 Minutes of Fun.” Amazingly, just 15 minutes of fun family activity has a significant and positive impact on literacy skills!

So what did we do on Family Literacy Day at the library? We had fun! Five young authors were on hand to launch their books (published by the Storytime in the Park Committee) by reading their stories to a proud audience of over 40 friends and family members.

We have lots of terrific young writers in the Fraser Cascade area!

Eli Tiessen’s “Eli the Explorer Goes to the Jungle” is the story of Eli and his friend Victor the Velociraptor. Well done, Eli!

Guinevere Jaic read her “An Invitation from Chum,” a lovely story of Lucy and a fellow named Chum. This is a very clever story with quite the surprise ending.

Sarah Jean Preson read her story “The Adventures of Mizz and Mauz!: New Friends” while daughter Jayme showed the illustrations. A fun book about a couple of mosquito pals!

Leana and her horse Izzy are featured in Abiah Krause’s “Sometimes Dreams Come True,” a lovely fairytale with a happily-ever-after ending!

Unfortunately, Chayton Ajula wasn’t able to attend but his story “On the Run” follows the adventures of someone falsely accused, from London’s Olympics and back to the United States.

The overall winner of the 2012 Storytime in the Park contest was Christina Munday’s “Leah’s Old-New Too-Big Boots” – a grand adventure of the one-booted Leah and her errant old-new too-big boot. Munday’s book will be given out as part of Storytime in the Park 2013 – another summer of family fun!

At the book launch, Fraser-Cascade school district superintendent Karen Nelson opened with words of appreciation to Bud Gardner and his contribution to literacy in our community. A community award was then presented to him by Christine Proulx. Gardner generously donates not only the Storytime van each year, but also covers the cost of the van’s insurance and maintenance throughout the summer.

As an aside, Storytime in the Park has been a Hope tradition for a decade now. The program was started by Heather Stewin way back in 1993. A great big thank you to all the volunteers, companies and organizations who make the program such a huge success.

So Family Literacy Day is over for another year, but we do have another literacy event happening in town the first week of February. The University of the Fraser Valley in Hope is celebrating “Be a Kid – Get a Book” week. Local children – babies through age 10 – are welcome to stop by UFV Hope between Feb. 4 and Feb. 7 and get a free book!

Literacy is so important and it takes only 15 minutes a day to make a difference. So it’s pretty cool that Family Day lands on Feb. 11 – a whole day to have some family fun, either at home, or out and about.

For ideas to do at home, I’ve just ordered a collection of boredom buster books into the library. You can order your own copies too – just look under the slightly quaint subject heading “Amusements.” These books should be arriving soon.

If you want to spend Family Day out, Manning Park is offering 50 per cent off lift tickets. Or explore some trails in Hope, or have a winter picnic. Or maybe enjoy the day in the “Big City” – check out that new bridge, take in the Boat Show, or walk the seawall. So many fun things to do!

* * * *

On the Nightstand: Pierre Berton’s Vimy Ridge, Dear Harry: The Firsthand Account of a World War I Infantryman by Norma Hillyer Shephard, and Elizabeth Speller’s The Return of Captain John Emmett. As you might have guessed, I’m off on another research “trip” – this time investigating the conditions and social history of the Great War. My great uncle died on the first day of Vimy and it’s interesting to me how much I didn’t learn in high school. Probably just not paying attention!

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