For the 24th year Family Literacy Day celebrating the importance of reading and engaging in activities, will be recognized across Canada on Jan. 27.
Thousands of schools, literacy organizations and community groups have participated in the annual date since 1999. Some use the whole week to celebrate the importance of literacy.
One of those organizations is the Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) partnered with the North Coast Literacy Committee to support Dolly’s Imagination Library program.
“Literacy is embedded in everything we do when we are learning,” Natalie Allen, community relations associate with the PRPA, said on Jan. 19.
“I think literacy is commonly defined as the ability to read and write, but it really does have a broader definition … There’s math literacy, there’s cooking literacy, and there’s mental health literacy. Basically, you can put the literacy lens onto anything. For kids learning at that early an age, I think it’s beneficial. It’s something we are looking to support.”
The PRPA looks to the experts and finds ways to support those who are ‘doing amazing work’ and providing services in Prince Rupert and surrounding communities, she said.
The Dolly’s Imagination Library program was introduced to children in the North Coast region in March 2021. The no-cost program sends books to young readers from birth to five years old directly to their doorsteps. The first year saw 146 children enrolled to receive reading material and had grown to 236 children currently.
It is considered a ‘book-gifting’ program where high-quality books are mailed to a child each month. While the program is an international one with six different countries participating, the books for the North Coast younger learned do have cultural aspects.
“The books for Canada do really have a Canadian lens put on them,” Allen said, adding there is diversity included with Indigenous stories being featured.
Allen said the PRPA recognizes there is a gap in Prince Rupert where early is concerned.
“[We] are looking to essentially remove any barriers for families. One of the barriers being identified as access. One of the many things about Dolly’s Imagination Library that was so attractive was the fact that these books are of high quality. They’re really diverse, and they are mailed directly to children themselves at their home. So they build their own library, and kids get an opportunity to have something that belongs to them. The tags and the mail come in the kid’s names.”
K-J Millar | Editor and Multimedia Journalist
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