Family Literacy Day event coming to Gateway Mall

Herald file photo. Sisters Brooke and Brynn take part in the 2022 Story Walk at Gateway Mall. The 2024 edition is scheduled for Saturday afternoon.

Family Literacy Day is on Saturday and the Prince Albert Literacy Network (PALN) has a free day of fun at the Gateway Mall to help celebrate.

Kara Thorpe, the Family Literacy Coordinator at the Prince Albert Literacy Network, said events like Family Literacy Day is important because they bring people together.

“If families play together and learn together, it’s a much more exciting environment and we have a stronger community moving forward,” she said. “Things like celebrating Family Literacy Day brings it to the forefront. (It) has people talking and doing activities together as a family.”

The Literacy Network has created a Story Walk as the day’s main activity. The route runs around the lottery kiosk area of the mall, with different types of activities sprinkled throughout.

The Prince Albert Regional KidsFirst will be helping with some reading and games and the Lakeland Sport District has brought them some physical literacy games. The Good Food Box will be providing a snack. The Prince Albert Historical Museum is also included.

The day ends at the Family Resource Centre where they’re going to have a dance party with glow sticks and lights.

Thorpe explained that the activities will be in a loop beginning and ending at the at the Family Resource Centre. She explained that the games will be in the former Source for Sports location. There will also be take home kits while supplies last.

The way organizations like the Prince Albert Literacy Network address literacy is changing, according to Thorpe.

“We are trying to change the conversation around what literacy is,” she explained. “Playing board games, (and) we’ve got face painting coming—which is art—music, cooking with your family are all parts of literacy. We don’t have to always consider it to be a book. Maybe at bedtime or that kind of stuff, but everything that we do every day can be a part of literacy.”

She gave the example of having children help set the table for supper.

“They’re counting out the number of forks or placing the number of plates and those kinds of things. It just makes for a learning environment in every space that we are in,” Thorpe said.

The PALN has celebrated Family Literacy Day in the past, but changing times have created a need to adjust.

“The story walks projects kind of burned out of COVID where we needed to have people spread out, but we still wanted participation,” she explained. “It seems like every year people are continuing to ask for this type of activity, so it seems logical to put it together.”

Family Literacy Day is from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Gateway Mall on Saturday.

“It’s a drop-in program so and depending on if you want to play a bunch of board games, you could be here the whole time,” Thorpe said. “If you are just going to do the story walk and have a free snack and take a free book and head home, it might be shorter than that so it’s up to the individual.”

Thorpe said it was nice to be able to be flexible in that way.

The event is co-hosted by the Gateway Mall, Family Resource Centre and Regional KidsFirst.