The job is never done at Family Literacy Day in P.A.

John M. Cuelenaere Public Library program supervisor Abby Burden reads to a group of children during Family Literacy Day at the Gateway Mall on Jan. 27, 2018 -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald.

Sandra Kaun’s job is never done.

The Prince Albert Literacy Network’s (PALN) Family Literacy Coordinator is bustling from one station to the next, overlooking volunteers and program representatives helping young kids make crafts, read books or listen to music.

It was part of Saturday’s Family Literacy Day event in Gateway Mall, and although it’s a lot of work, Kaun said it’s a cause worth diving into.

“I think there’s always work to be done because we always have new people coming into our community,” said Kaun during a brief break in the action. “We always have another generation coming along, so I don’t think our work will ever be done.”

While fun is the name of the game on Saturday, the end goal of Family Literacy Day is serious business. Kaun said they try to get parents to spend more time reading with their kids, which in turn helps build the child’s vocabulary.

Published children’s author and teacher Bernice Johnson-Laxdall, who was on hand to give a reading of her knew book, said there’s still a desire to read among today’s youth. They just need a little support.

“I think kids have to see other people reading,” Johnson-Laxdall said. “If they have a basis when they go to sit down … and they have a picture in their mind, they can grasp it from there and enter into their little story.”

A variety of local Prince Albert organizations were in attendance to lend that support, which Kaun said will help build trust with new families.

“This way families get to know that when they see the Mann Art Gallery, or when they see the John M. Cuelenaere Public Library, or they come across SUNTEP teachers, they know that these are people who are invested in their family’s well being.”

Kaun added that the Prince Albert Grand Council also helped play a major role, as did the Raise a Reader grant. Thanks to support from both, the PALN was able to give away roughly 300 children’s books to families who attended the event. It all made for a happy end to a serious cause.

“It’s very exciting to have all these families here to be able to promote the importance of family literacy, and just how easy it is to spend a little bit of time interacting with your child everyday,” Kaun said.