AMHERST, N.S. – Families that read and play together tend to stay together.
Maggie’s Place is joining with the Cumberland Public Libraries and CAN-U (Cumberland Adult Network for Upgrading) to host a Family Literacy Day event on Jan. 26 that will feature East Coast Music Award-winners Razzmatazz.
There will be a number of children’s and family events beginning at 10:30 a.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Robie Street in Amherst followed by a performance by Razzmatazz.
“What we are trying to do is promote literacy and physical activity,” Sarah MacMaster of Maggie’s Place said. “Razzmatazz has been here before and they were really well received.”
MacMaster there will be songs and stories through physical movement.
The event will also feature a literacy pantry in which families will be able to pick out books and go build a fort or cozy corner to read some new-to-you books. The children will be able to take home the books that have been donated by the community.
There is no cost to attend.
Fiona Watson, who is the youth services librarian for the Cumberland Public Libraries, said it’s important for children and their caregivers to read together.
“When you think about it, it’s very important because parents are the kids first teachers. If you have a home environment where children feel supported by their parents and parents feel supported by the community it provides a good foundation for literacy,” Watson said.
Children who are introduced to reading at a younger age often do better at school.
It’s something Maggie’s Place promotes through its programming, some of which is held in conjunction with library staff. One of those programs, Once Upon A Time, takes place at the library every Wednesday and includes songs, stories and snacks.
“We want to promote the emotional, physical and social wellbeing of children and a big part of that is through literacy,” MacMaster said. “We start off with our baby shake, rattle and roll program and then go into the program we do with the library. Bring your kids, sing the songs, learn the songs and go home and sing them there. It gives them a good base.”
Beth Smith, co-ordinator of CAN-U, said the partnership with the library and Maggie’s Place is mutually beneficial and events such as Family Literacy Day promote families reading together.
“It’s an opportunity for our students to participate in an event as a family and it shows how essential literacy is to family life,” Smith said.
She said her program often attracts older learners who want to learn how to read and write so they can read to or with their children and it’s something that pushes many of them to succeed.