The Oak Bay branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library embarks on a mission to encourage the love of literacy with an alphabet celebration to mark Family Literacy Day.
“We celebrate it to encourage families to read and we have developed a number of fun programs,” said Joy Huebert, public service librarian at the Oak Bay branch of the GVPL. “We really believe in early literacy.”
She celebrates that love of learning leading Fun with ABCs at the Oak Bay library on Wednesday. The session includes reading a series of alphabet-inspired stories followed by games and crafts.
“They’re beautiful books and then we give each family their own alphabet book to make,” Huebert said.
Her session is geared for preschoolers and their families.
“There’s a lot of parental involvement. Parents are instrumental in cultivating early literacy. They’re the first educator,” Huebert said. “If you talk, sing, read, write and play with your child, you’ll give them a good start in literacy.”
Literacy and associated skills are a foundation for lifelong learning. But literacy doesn’t mean reading at the preschool phase.
“We don’t teach children to read until they go to school, we teach them to enjoy stories,” Huebert said, adding the goal is to make it a pleasant bonding experience with family. “They link reading with love.”
Early literacy refers to all skills children learn about reading and writing before they’re ready to do it themselves. Five practices that help with early literacy are talking, singing, reading, writing and playing.
“We will have one hour reading fun stories and playing,” Huebert said. “Read, write, talk, sing, play; we’ll be doing all of those things.”
Reading, rhyming, singing and talking influence literacy and language development, the foundations for all learning. Reading is an essential skill for success in school and later in life. Children introduced to books and words early on tend to read earlier and excel in school compared to children who are not exposed to language and books at a young age.
Year-round, GVPL offers babytime and preschool storytimes, Skill Builders adaptive toy kits, play areas and Books for Babies bags for new parents, as well as an extensive collection of books, music and magazines for young children.
“We have three story times a week here and they’re very full,” Huebert said.
Huebert leads Fun with ABCs at the Oak Bay branch Jan. 25 at 10:30 a.m. Register at www.gvpl.ca or call 250-940-4875 for more information.
Did you know?
• Family Literacy Week, Jan. 22 to 29, is organized BC-wide by Decoda Literacy Solutions to encourage families to learn together.
• In addition to the Fun with ABCs program at its Oak Bay and Central branches, other fun GVPL programs to celebrate the week include Create Your Own Storytelling Discs (decorate storytelling discs and use them as inspiration to create your own stories), and Make Your Own Story Cube (farm-themed storytime and an Old MacDonald story cube).
• GVPL also launches the StoryWalk collection at the Juan de Fuca branch Jan. 28. In a StoryWalk, individual pages of a storybook are mounted on sign posts and placed outdoors in a circuit. Kids walk from page to page, reading the story while exercising their minds and bodies. Afterward, the collection will be available to borrow across the GVPL system.