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Growing Literacy.  Strengthening our community.

I know when you read the term literacy, you mind automatically goes to reading and writing. And that is a part of literacy, but it’s not the whole. One of the things that I love about the local Literacy group – and their partners – is that they are looking at literacy from a holistic perspective and how literacy can improve the lives of local residents.

In their minds literacy isn’t just about the ABC’s and the 123’s; it also about knowing how to use a computer or your smart phone (technology literacy); how to balance a budget or do your taxes (financial literacy); and, how to move your body for better health and wellness (physical literacy). It’s about the practical skills you need to live your life and to enjoy what you do.

Locally we are blessed with a number of great literacy assets: our local libraries in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, SD42, writers groups at the ACT and in other venues, book clubs, as well as the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Katzie Community Literacy Committee (CLC). I’m sure there are many more.

Our local Literacy Committee is doing some great work. Every year they spearhead a First Books Canada campaign that encourages local non-profits to apply for and receive free new books from their publishing partners. The Community Literacy team then coordinates picking up and distributing the books to the 15 community agencies involved, ensuring that each agency gets a range of titles to pass on to their clients. In 2016, over 7000 books were given out to local lower income families. That’s amazing!

New this year is a Come Read with Me program that teaches parents how to introduce their children to reading in a way that instills a lifelong love of reading. This program brings together the literacy strengths and resources of School District 42, Fraser Valley Regional Library (Maple Ridge branch), and the Literacy Committee into one comprehensive and fantastic program. I wish the program would have been available when my girls were young!

Looking for something to do inside to get away from the cold? Mark your calendar to take part in Family Literacy Day on January 28th from 11 AM to 2 PM at the Maple Ridge Library. Hosted by the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Katzie Community Literacy Committee and the Maple Ridge Library, this celebration with the theme: Music: Listen! Make! Move! is sure to delight everyone in your family. From past experience I know it’s a lively event with tons of fun activities, great displays, and family entertainment. Check out the special guest performers Team T&J at 11:00 am and Showstoppers Academy at noon. PLUS, I’ll be there with my Community Network Community Superhero cape on, looking for local literacy community superheroes. Are you one of them? This is a free family event and everyone is welcome!

Follow Community Literacy Committee on Facebook to learn how you can get involved and what programs are being offered. Or contact Elaine Yamamoto, Literacy Facilitator at or 604.721.3738.

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