Starting at a very early age
RYAN PAULSEN Emily Phillips, one-and-a-half, says hello to “Bingo,” and Laura Demont, stars of the Friends and Neighbours Club puppet show. The show was at the Ontario Early Years Centre in Pembroke for its Family Literacy Day party on Friday morning.
It was a bustling crowd of more than 50 visitors at the Ontario Early Years Centre (OEYC) on Isabella Street in Pembroke as the organization kicked off its tenth anniversary celebrations with a Family Literacy Day party on Friday.
The morning event kicked off with some play and reading time for the kids and their guardians, followed by a wildly popular musical, educational puppet show by the team from the Friends and Neighbours Club.
According to OEYC program facilitator Stacey Robinson, with illiteracy rates in Renfrew County above the 30 per cent mark, there’s no such thing as getting started too early.
“It starts from the moment they’re born,” she says, “and it’s just about getting people involved, whether it’s parents, siblings, grandparents, or anybody that’s interested, really, in the development of literacy.”
Although many might think that with kindergarten programs expanding for younger children, the need for family literacy efforts are less, but Robinson points out that there’s compelling reasons to start reading to your kids long before they hop on the bus for the first time.
“Stats Canada says that children in the 2-3 year-old age group that are read to a couple of times a day, once they become four- or five-year-old children in kindergarten, fare a lot better than those that are read to a couple of times a week or even less,” she stated.
The other reason for the push, says Robinson, is that literacy is so much more than just being able to sit down and pore over the latest best-selling novel.
“Literacy isn’t just reading a book. It’s singing songs, it’s writing a grocery list, it’s reading recipes, nowadays it’s surfing the net. It encompasses a lot more than just sitting and reading.”
Ryan Paulsen is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist. Follow him on Twitter @PRyanPaulsen