Posts tagged Reading
Family Literacy Day

Media Release Submitted by Kendra Fleming

While Family Literacy Day is officially being marked this Sunday (January 27), local families are being encouraged to make literacy part of their regular routine every day of the year.

Family Literacy Day will mark its 20th year in 2019. As befits this milestone anniversary, the theme of this year’s Family Literacy Day is ‘Take 20’ – which encourages parents and caregivers to take 20 minutes daily to read, sing, listen or play with children to help them develop strong literacy skills for life.

“Practising literacy together every day has tremendous benefits for both children and parents,” says Shelley Shaughnessy, a Public Health Nurse with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit. “When you ‘take 20,’ not only do you get to spend quality time together as a family, but you also help children develop strong literacy skills that are essential for them to reach their full potential in a changing and dynamic world.”

There are many fun ways that families can encourage literacy skills, without children even realizing they are learning. Reading a book at bedtime, visiting the library, playing a board game together, or telling knock-knock jokes while doing the dishes can all be options, Shaughnessy notes. Other activities to do together as a family include:

Organizing a ‘grocery hunt’ in which children search the store for all food items on the family grocery list.

Playing ‘home restaurant’ by getting children to create a menu for a meal by drawing food items or using grocery store flyers. To spice up mealtime, children can even take food orders too.

Taking part in an ‘animal dance’ by having family members stand in a circle and have each take a turn moving like an animal and say what they’re doing (e.g. ‘I hop like a bunny,’ ‘I stomp like a dinosaur’).

Local families can also check with their local library or EarlyON Child and Family Centre to see if there are special events planned in their community as part of Family Literacy Day.

Two organizations that can offer additional ideas and information for families are:

ABC Life Literacy Canada ( offers family literacy tips, activities and resources.

KidTalk ( is part of the Preschool Speech and Language Services program that covers Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. The KidTalk website offers resources to promote speech skills, as well as information on speech and language milestones.

Little Free Library

Submitted by Marylee Boston

Reading offers a lifetime of learning, dreaming, and connecting with the world around us. The love of reading ignited the dream which eventually became the reality of Little Free Libraries. It started with one model schoolhouse library and the collaboration of two gentleman named Todd and Rick. To date their idea, now a non-profit organization has shared the joy of reading with people in 88 countries through the installation of over 75,000 libraries.

The beauty of the Little Free Library is its simplicity. Once you’ve decided to build a library you can purchase a library kit, or you can dream up your own design.

Upon installation you can celebrate with a grand opening to welcome your friends and neighbours to fill your library or take home a new treasure. Your library may become a gathering place, a must-see destination and quite possibly inspire a new generation of readers.

The Little Free Library phenomenon has made its way to Fenelon Falls. According to the Little Free Library map there are 5 chartered libraries in Fenelon Falls and area. Click here Little Free Library to find one in your neighborhood or plan a road trip to visit libraries across Canada.

Looking for great books? Don’t forget to check out our other great local literary resources in the community: the Fenelon Falls branch of the Kawartha Lakes Public Library, and The Book Lady for new and used books.


Happy reading!

Footnote: Some information in this story was shared from

Books are Great Gifts

Media Release submitted by Bill Eekhof

Lift a page from the past by taking a novel approach to your holiday gift-giving for children this year.

 The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit encourages parents and caregivers to include a book under the tree for children. While they may seem old-fashioned compared to modern tech toys, devices and electronic games, books are a great gift to give this holiday season.

“Books can open up new chapters for children and their parents,” says Shelley Shaughnessy, a Public Health Nurse with the HKPR District Health Unit. “Reading together allows family members to bond together, explore new literary worlds and acquire a love of language. Books are valuable because they can support a child’s communication skills that are critical for future success at school and in life.”

As children grow, “their brains are like sponges,” which means they are constantly learning from what goes on around them, she notes. Reading with children helps to stimulate speech and language skills, as adults help them learn new words and discuss their meanings. Visual attention, conversation skills and listening ability can also be improved, she adds.

“Take the cue from your child when reading,” Shaughnessy adds. “If children flip back and forth all over the book, be patient. It shows they enjoy the book and want to concentrate on the parts that especially appeal to them. Another word of advice: show interest and enthusiasm when reading to children so the words on the page have appeal and hold their attention.”

Finding an age-appropriate book for a child is the most important step in encouraging reading. Books with repetitive and rhyming text, as well as plenty of pictures and interactive features such as holes or flaps for lifting, can be a hit with older toddlers and preschoolers. For older children who are less inclined to read, choose a story with an exciting plot that will grab their attention and make them want to read.

Giving a gift certificate to a local bookstore for your child is another way to encourage reading. If children’s expectations this holiday season involve a high-tech gadget, parents might consider electronic book readers as an option. Alternately, a low-tech, no-cost idea may be a better fit. “Get your child a library card and open the door to a world of books, where new experiences await,” Shaughnessy adds.

To further support reading and child speech skills, local residents can visit the KidTalk website ( or call the Health Unit toll-free at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5003.