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On January 27, families and communities across Canada will participate in the eleventh annual Family Literacy Day, a national initiative created by ABC CANADA Literacy Foundation and Honda Canada in 1999 to promote the importance of reading and learning together as a family.

   Every year, literacy organizations, schools, libraries and community centres coordinate literacy-themed events, such as story-writing contests, public story readings and read-a-thons during what is often a sluggish winter month.


"The holiday season will be a busy time for many families, but there are several ways of weaving reading and learning into everyday activities," said Margaret Eaton, President, ABC CANADA Literacy Foundation. “Next month's Family Literacy Day celebrations will involve thousands of families across the country and will encourage them to participate in family literacy on a daily basis."


ABC CANADA offers the following activities to encourage family literacy in the home over the holidays and throughout the winter months:


·         Make a List, Check it Twice: As a family, make a grocery list of all the goodies you will need over the holidays.


·         Put the 'Read' in Gingerbread: Following recipes is a great way to practise reading, comprehension and math skills. When you start your holiday cooking and baking, get the whole family involved.


·         Watch a Book: Many classic holiday stories have been adapted for the big screen. Read these stories with your kids first, then watch the movie equivalent; Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas are classic favourites.


·         Dear Grandma: The holidays are a great time to write a letter or email to a loved one. Have everyone in your family contribute at least one paragraph on what they have accomplished over the last year.


·         Signed, Sealed and Delivered: Do you have a stack of holiday cards that need to be addressed? Ask your family to help you send them out.


·         Fa-la-la-la: Singing songs together will help your child develop greater awareness of rhythm, rhyme, words and sounds.


·         Holiday Pageant: Encourage your child to act out a familiar holiday story using toys and props.


·         How Many Shopping Days Left?: Take the kids to the store when you shop for holiday party supplies and ask them to count out the change required to make your purchase, or even to keep track of how much you are spending before you reach the register.


·         Travel the World: Visit the library to find books on holiday traditions and celebrations from around the world - like Kwanzaa or Hanukkah.


·         Jack Frost Nipping at your Nose?: On cold winter days, opt to stay in and curl up by the fire with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate. Don't forget the marshmallows!


·         Books Under the Tree: Encourage reading by giving books or magazine subscriptions as gifts this year. Research shows that one of the most important factors for creating lifelong readers is having lots of books and reading materials in the home.


·         'Tis Better to Give than Receive: Give the gift of words by boxing up old books and donating them to your local library or literacy organization. Perhaps this will give new meaning to Boxing Day and become an annual tradition in your home.


While Family Literacy Day (FLD) is celebrated annually on January 27, numerous activities are planned for the days and weeks leading up to FLD 2009. One lucky Canadian family will receive an at-home visit from best-selling author, and FLD Honorary Chair, Robert Munsch on January 17, as a result of winning the Munsch at Home Contest. In addition, FLD World Record Attempt events will be held at Oxford Learning Centres, YMCAs, schools, libraries, literacy organizations, malls and various other organizations across the country on January 23 and January 24 in the national attempt to break the Guinness World Record for most children reading with an adult, multiple locations.  


“Honda Canada is proud to be the founding sponsor of Family Literacy Day and support ABC CANADA’s work to encourage lifelong learning," says Jerry Chenkin, Executive Vice President, Honda Canada. "As a result of over 11 years of successful FLD programming thousands of families have incorporated learning activities into their daily lives."


For more information on Family Literacy Day, and events being held across Canada, visit