Parents, students, descend on school for Literacy Day

Reader Judi Bell is a librarian at the Port Kells branch of the Surrey Public Library.

Port Kells Elementary had a packed house last week, as parents joined students for some old fashioned book learnin’.

Port Kells joined with schools cross the country on Jan. 27 to celebrate Family Literacy Day. Parents were invited to join their children for a morning session to promote the importance of reading.

Of the school’s 80 families, 45 parents, guardians, preschool-aged siblings and even grandparents came out for the event.

Dean Yeo, principal at Port Kells Elementary, says the parents had an enjoyable time and they appreciated the opportunity to come in and join their children at school.

“The parents who came were quite happy when they left,” he said. “They thought it was great.”

Literacy Day kicked off in the gym, with a local public librarian on hand for some story time reading, followed by a description of the activities and services offered at the library.

After the gym session, parents joined the students in class for literacy activities and one-on-one reading time. Children with parents who were unavailable were paired up with older students acting as a sort of literacy mentors for the younger kids.

Yeo said bringing the parents to the school was part of an effort to boost their involvement with their child’s education, describing it as a team approach to learning.

Reading with children at home helps to develop their literacy skills and gives them a leg up in school. Yeo said this is especially important with young children. Helping them learn the letters and letter sounds at an early age gets them ready for school – and that sets the stage for better performance in school.

“The whole point is to promote literacy – reading and writing in the home,” he said.

For parents who missed the event, or those looking to extend Literacy Day’s themes at home, Yeo recommends joining your child in the school’s reading log program, which monitors the amount of time each student spends reading at home. Yeo says participating with a child and reading along will continue the process of developing literacy skills.

“The hope is that you build on it, it takes over and it becomes part of their routine,” he said.”

As a bonus to Port Kells students, Yeo has added an incentive to the to the reading log program: if the logs for the school’s 110 students add up to 100,000 minutes spent reading at home this year, one primary and one intermediate student will be randomly selected to throw a pie at the principal’s face during a year-end assembly.

Who says reading isn’t cool?

– Colin Oswin, Black Press

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