Having families read special books to children in their native language is building literacy in two languages, and encouraging reading.
Many people take reading to their children for granted, but language can sometimes be a barrier if parents are not comfortable with English and there is no reading material in their own language.
“There are kids here who speak three languages,” said Kristin Hohenadel, community investment support with Shelldale Better Beginnings, Better Futures in Guelph. When parents told her that they cannot read English and so could not read to their children, she sought a way to solve that problem.
Enter a grant for $4,000 from the Canadian Federation of University Women to promote literacy, providing families with books in their own language. The school will also purchase the English language version of the book, enabling the children to enjoy the story in English, and have their parents read to them in their native language.
Some of the languages include Amharic, Tigrinia, Arabic, Nepali, Bhutanese, Urdu, Hindi and Vietnamese.
“The more fun that the child has with the book, the more likely that child will become a reader,” said program director Lorri Sauvé.