Lifelong Learning:

It’s Essential


Why the 'Family' in Family Literacy?

Literacy is a life long journey. It begins at birth with parents talking, singing, cooking, making things, reading, playing games, telling stories and sharing experiences with their child. At the NWT Literacy Council, we call this stage of the literacy journey “family literacy”. It starts at birth and lasts until a child enters elementary school.

Family literacy is about families doing things together in their everyday lives. Family literacy is based on the understanding that school is not the only place where learning happens — parents are their children's first teachers. Both parents and children benefit from spending time and learning together.

Family literacy programs work because they build on things that families are already doing — buying groceries, going out on the land, getting kids ready for bed. Family literacy programs show families how all these activities can be literacy or learning activities.

Here are some examples of how literacy activities can be part of your family's everyday routine:

1. Before you go grocery shopping, talk to your child about what you plan on buying. They might be able to help you draw or write a list.
2. Make reading a story or telling family stories a part of your bedtime routine.
3. Pass the time in line-ups or waiting rooms by singing songs or saying rhymes together.
4. Pass on your own experiences and skills when you are on the land.
5. Find ways for your child to help prepare food. Use measuring cups and spoons to build numeracy skills or a younger child can stir things and count the number of stirs.


How does your family work literacy into everyday life? You can share your family literacy stories or pictures on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram feeds. You can also participate in 1000 Books Before Kindergarten for a chance to win a literacy prize pack! And remember, you can use our free and fun family literacy resources.

— Emily Smith

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