Family Literacy Fun!

Family Literacy Fun!



Written by Sonal Mistry, Early Literacy Specialist at the Parent Resource Centre on behalf of the Family Literacy Committee of the Ottawa Area.

What is early literacy?

Before we get into family literacy, let's talk about early literacy and what that means.

Early literacy is learning about reading, writing and talking so that children can learn how to read, write and talk well when they are ready.

This may sound strange, but from the day a child is born, they are learning about the world by interacting with others and exploring. From birth, children understand the need to communicate. A week old baby will cry to signal that they are hungry or upset. As they get older, they learn that adults communicate in many different ways.

How will my child learn language?

We know that children begin learning language from birth. By the time they are a year old, they have leart all the sounds of their native language. Babies learn language by listening and interacting with people. At first, they may communicate by smiling or turning their heads to the source of the sounds. Soon after, they will begin to babble and say a few words.

The best way to help your child learn these early literacy skills is through family literacy.

Family Literacy? What does that mean?

Children learn best from watching and playing with others around them.  Since children spend most of their time with their family; a child's best teacher is their family. Family literacy means children and adults learning together.

There are 5 main ways to help your child develop the skills they need to become good communicators.


  • Go for a walk as a family and talk about what you see
  • Talk to your child about what you're doing. Example: "First I'm going to chop the onions, then I will add the tomatoes"
  • A car ride is the perfect time to practice literacy. Read signs, billboards and license plates together, or count the number of yellow cars


  • Sing songs and nursery rhymes while getting dressed, eating, driving and getting ready for bed
  • * Singing helps children to learn the  patterns of words, rhymes and rhythms, and it helps build language skills


  • Let your child try to dress and feed themselves. They are working on developing fine motor skills
  • Give your child materials to scribble, paint and draw
  • Write a few words to describe their drawing. This is a great way to model writing for them!


  • Make reading together a special activity. Make some hot chocolate, cuddle up and read together!
  • Fill a scrapbook with pictures of a family event
  • Children follow by example, so ensure reading is part of your daily life too!


  • Play counting games. Example: "Can you get THREE spoons from the drawer, please?
  • Play with your child. If your child is pretending to cook you dinner, play along, ask questions or have them cook you your favorite meal

Mark January 27th in your calendar for Family Literacy Day! Do a literacy activity with your family during the month of January and enter to win a gift basket filled with goodies!  Visit the Parent Resource Centre Facebook page for more information.

Do you have more questions?



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