Promoting literacy during a pandemic
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 02/03/2021 (822 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
February was I Love to Read Month, which followed closely on the heels of Family Literacy Week.
While I couldn’t visit classrooms this year, I shared my love of reading with all Wolseley elementary schools through a video. I read some of my favourite children’s stories and shared some ideas with parents for promoting literacy at home.
Studies have shown a direct correlation between illiteracy and poverty, as well as poor physical and mental health; 48 per cent of Canadian adults have literacy skills below a high school level and 17 per cent struggle to read basic information like the dosage on a medicine bottle. Those with low literacy are also more at risk of incarceration and not getting access to the supports they need.
Literacy starts in childhood and is fundamental to a thriving community, yet the Pallister government has repeatedly demonstrated that education, including early childhood education, is not a priority to them. They’ve frozen childcare funding – meaning fewer spaces for children to gain literacy skills before starting elementary school. They’ve also cut education funding year after year by not keeping up with the rate of inflation and enrolment.
Early childcare educators, teachers, and educational assistants have been stretched to the limit for our children’s care and learning throughout the pandemic. They’ve been at their breaking point for months on end. In thanks, the premier continues to cut their funding and hold back federal funds earmarked for keeping our schools safe during the pandemic.
We will need a community-wide effort to support our children and educators post-pandemic. All families can engage in literacy education – through poetry, nursery rhymes, stories, and song in any language. Encourage your children to tell you stories about their day. Read to them and have them read to you.
Books have always been a way for me to travel and make new friends. At the beginning of the pandemic, I found it hard to concentrate on reading for pleasure, but I kept trying and I’ve finally found delight in reading again.
I encourage you to discover a new author or try a new genre if you are also having this challenge. Libraries are open again and many Wolseley homes have their own Little Free Libraries where you can take a book or share your old books with others.
When our community is educated and literate, everyone is better off. Literacy is a right and a joy – let’s spread it around.
Please reach out to my office anytime: 204-792-2773 or lisa.naylor@yourmanitoba
Wolseley constituency report
Lisa Naylor is the NDP MLA for Wolseley.