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Family Literacy Day in Toronto

Celebrate Literacy Together on January 27

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Image of a woman and child reading a recipe together while cooking

Literacy isn't just about reading books - ABC Life Literacy Canada suggests following a recipe together!

Photo courtesy ABC Life Literacy Canada
January 27 is Family Literacy Day in Canada. On this day, Canadian families are encouraged to read together, play together, and plan to continue to learn as a family all year long. This special day was created in 1999 by ABC Life Literacy Canada (previously known as ABC CANADA), a charity that researches and promotes literacy in Canada.

Family Literacy Day 2013 - "15 Minutes of Fun"

In honour of the 15th anniversary of Family Literacy Day, the theme for 2013 is "15 Minutes of Fun". Visit FamilyLiteracyDay.ca to explore this year's tips for ways to combine 15 minutes of family fun with 15 minutes of learning.

Family Literacy Day Events in Toronto - 2013

In 2013 Family Literacy Day falls on a Sunday, which means many events will likely be planned for the day of or for Saturday. Friday January 25 is a PA/PD Day at many elementary schools (see the Expanded Toronto School Calendar). Of course schools may have special literacy events planned at other times which parents may be able volunteer at, and you can always plan a fun family literacy activity to do at home on the 27th.

Family Literacy Day at the Ontario Science Centre
January 27
Family Literacy Day Honorary Chair Robert Munsch will join other authors such as Barbara Reid and Wayson Choy for a day of reading and activities at the Ontario Science Centre. These first-come, first-served events are included with Ontario Science Centre admission.

Family Literacy Day at Story Planet
January 27
Combination cafe and kid's workshop space, Story Planet (1165 Bloor Street West) is celebrating Family Literacy Day with literary games and a book launch for the picture book Gabby. Author Joyce Grant and illustrator Jan Dolby will both be on hand.

Attend Toronto Public Library Events
January 19-28
Family literacy is a year-round event at the Toronto Public Library, but through much of January there are extra activities planned to celebrate Family Literacy Day including storytelling games, author talks, and more. Most programs are actually planned for Saturday (presumably because many branches are closed or have limited hours on Sunday).

Head to City of Toronto Historic Museums
Although the city museums don't have events planned which are specifically geared to Family Literacy Day, there are several events scheduled for January 27, 2013 which parents can use as a prompt. Get details on the following events on the City of Toronto Museum's Featured Events page:

  • Gibson House Neighbourhood Social (hearth cooking, storytelling, games, and crafts), free, 2pm-6pm
  • Robbie Burns Day Celebration at Mackenzie House (live music, shortbread, stories and haggis), $5-$8 range, noon-4pm
  • Winter in the Valley – An Outdoor Guided Walk at Todmorden Mills ("learn how birds, animals and plants adapt to and survive harsh winter conditions. Enjoy mulled cider after the walk"), $2-$6 range, 1:30pm - 2:30pm

Sleepover at the Museum
January 25 - 26
Also not officially tied to Family Literacy Day, there's a ROM Sleepover on the weekend of Family Literacy Day, based around the theme of Ancient Civilizations.

Search for More Local Events
The ABC Life Literacy Canada website allows event organizers to post information on things they have in store for Family Literacy Day. Browse the Family Literacy Day event postings or share your own plans.

Things to Do at Home for Family Literacy Day

Of course one thing you can do is simply take time in the evening to read together and talk about what you've read. Kids can also be encouraged to draw pictures of their favorite part of the story. If you'd like to do something a little more involved...

Play Drama Games (Prepare With a Visit to TheatreBooks)
Playing drama games together or taking turns telling stories is something that can become an ongoing activity for your family. If you need help getting started, TheatreBooks is a Toronto bookstore that specializes in books for theatre and film professionals and hobbyists and has an extensive section called Drama in Education. Parents can visit ahead of Family Literacy Day or you can go as a family on the 27th to see what appeals to everyone. TheatreBooks is located at 101 Spadina Avenue (north of King Street), or you can also order books online.

Introduce the Write for a Better World Contest
Every year the non-profit organization World Literacy of Canada holds a themed creative writing contest for Canadian kids. In 2013 the contest is for students in Grades 5-8 and involves completing a story started by author Eric Walters. Of course entries must be written without the help of an adult, so you shouldn't be writing the story as a family activity. Parents however can visit the website in advance, read all the rules and present the challenge on Family Literacy Day.

For More Ideas, Use the HSBC Learning Activity Centre
The ABC Life Literacy Canada website offers a variety of downloadable activities, ranging from tip sheets to printable activity pages. Visit the Family Literacy Day website to explore all the options.

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