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MacEwan University event aims to spark love of literacy among Edmonton readers

MacEwan University hosted its seventh annual Family Literacy Day on Jan. 27, 2019.
MacEwan University hosted its seventh annual Family Literacy Day on Jan. 27, 2019. Davie Hinshaw/The Charlotte Observer / The Canadian Press/AP

On Sunday, MacEwan University welcomed readers of all ages to kick-start — or rekindle — a love of literacy.

Family Literacy Day is a national awareness initiative created to highlight the importance of reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities.

Jan. 27, 2019 is the 20th anniversary of Family Literacy Day.

LISTEN BELOW: MacEwan University event aims to spark love of literacy

MacEwan University’s Justine Dogbe explained how the university’s Family Literacy Carnival connects with that initiative.

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“We’re trying to encourage and engage families within the city on literacy activities and really emphasize the importance of that,” Dogbe said.

READ MORE: Sask. government declares Jan. 27 as Family Literacy Day

At the free drop-in event, families received a “passport” that guided them through the interactive literacy activities at each station.

“We have stations with various activities happening. They range from health to an Indigenous station and a science station,” Dogbe said.

Guest readers also helped promote reading, including members of the Edmonton Eskimos and Sarah Chan, wife of Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson.

Dogbe said literacy goes beyond picking up a book.

“Literacy is at the core of a lot of aspects of our lives,” Dogbe said. “It doesn’t need to be just in the form of reading. It can begin at home — so talking with children, reading, playing and dancing. Those are all ways to encourage early literacy. It’s really essential to our children’s success.”

Dogbe said the event supports learners of all levels, with Project Adult Literacy Society (P.A.L.S.) providing assistance to older learners.

READ MORE: Families can bond on national literacy day: READ Saskatoon

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“Typically, it was about the preschool kids to about age 11. Now, we have this organization that can accommodate adult and teen learners,” Dogbe explained.

According to the Centre for Family Literacy’s website, four out of 10 Albertans struggle with literacy.

“Given that the event is happening at MacEwan University, we want people to come on campus and be a part of it. You don’t have to attend the university to engage in literacy and understand the importance of it,” Dogbe added.

This is the seventh year of MacEwan University’s event.