HOW TO: Family Tips For Literacy

Create 15 Minutes of Fun

ABC Life Literacy Canada is encouraging Canadian families to have "15 Minutes of Fun" learning together. Learning can happen at any time. Practicing literacy together every day has tremendous benefits for both children and parents. Here are some great ways to get started:

  1. Read a “wake up” story in the morning (after reading your bedtime story the night before).
  2. Search online for fun places to go in your community. Pick out a spot for your next family day trip.
  3. Make up a new recipe together and post it online.
  4. Tell knock-knock jokes together while doing the dishes.
  5. Create a story with your family: take turns writing one sentence at a time, then read the whole story aloud when you’re done.
  6. Write a review of a book you read together as a family. Send it to the author through email or snail mail.
  7. Organize a book swap at your school or with your friends.
  8. Track your trip to school, the park, and the grocery store on a map. Find a different route to take to each place.
  9. Learn to play a musical instrument. What about the ukulele?
  10. Write a note to include in a grown-up’s lunch – ask them to write back!
  11. Make a popsicle stick model with your family.
  12. Write your names graffiti-style using chalk on your sidewalk – you may need to shovel first!
  13. Play a board game together.
  14. Look up the words to your favorite song online. Have a sing-off with your friends!
  15. Count how many steps it takes to get from your bedroom to your kitchen. Find out who in your family has the most steps to a snack!

Activity: There’s A Story Behind Every Picture!

  • Ask your child to draw a picture
  • Ask her/his permission to write her/his story on the bottom of the sheet (if your child doesn’t want you to write on his/her picture, write on a separate sheet)
  • Ask your child to “Tell me about your picture”
  • Very young child may scribble and only tell you a word or two; write down those words
  • Older preschooler will tell you a simple sentence or a fragment of a sentence; write it down the way they say it.
  • Read the story to your child, pointing to each word
  • Once your child is excited about the activity, you can extend stories with questions such as, “I wonder what happened next?” or “ what else did you do?”
  • Once your child starts connecting his picture to the words you are writing down, you can encourage him to write some words under his picture and then tell you what he wrote.

Why Is This A Good Activity With Young Children?

  • It tells your child, “You are important to me; learning together is fun!
  • It helps children learn that words can be written down and read back
  • It allows you to model many writing behaviors to you child such as holding a pencil, letter formation, spacing between words…
  • It encourages children’s language development
  • It encourages children to be creative with their drawing and thinking.
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