MSC celebrates Family Literacy Day with Jan. 26 festival

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Family Literacy Day on Friday, Jan. 26 will be celebrated with a festival at the Tillsonburg Multi-Service Centre.

From 1-4 p.m., bring your children to the Livingston Centre, 96 Tillson Avenue, for an afternoon of fun, reading and refreshments.

"Family Literacy Day is an open event to the community," said Wendy Woodhouse, MSC Adult Literacy & Essential Skills Program Coordinator.

It focuses on the family with joint children and adult reading activities.

"In doing that, it becomes an enjoyable family event."

Children's language and cognitive skills start to develop from 18-30 months, and Woodhouse said at that age language becomes crucial.

"Reading to children is crucial at that part of their lives to sort of set the stage. Obviously, parents are really the first teachers of children, so we want that platform of parents and children to be a positive activity."

Family literacy is the link that takes children on to school, she said, and can lead to being successful.

"Because lifelong learning is now beyond something interesting to do, or a luxury, it's almost essential now for jobs. And we know that children who are read to when they are younger potentially have greater ability to be successful."

Literacy skills are also essential for independence, she said.

"For many people that we see as adults in the (adult literacy) program, it's not unusual for them to say after they've been involved in the program, 'Now I feel like I belong. Now I'm like everyone else.' So it has great power, no doubt about that."

The Family Literacy Festival is a very casual, inviting event. Drop in for the entire three hours, or stay as long as you like.

Two authors will provide readings on site - Kathy Bazinet, author of three books with two daughters, and children's author Barb Chrysler.

"They will also be providing signed copies of their books," Woodhouse noted.

Displays and information will be provided by literacy advocates Early On Child and Family Centre, Children's Services of Community Living Tillsonburg, Tillsonburg Branch of the Oxford County Library, Literacy Link South Central, and MSC's Adult Literacy and Essential Skills.

Refreshments will be available and visitors are free to browse the displays or listen to the authors.

"The library is a great supporter," said Woodhouse.

Winter Blues Getaway Raffle

A fundraiser to support the Family Literacy Day Festival, the MSC's annual Winter Blues Getaway Raffle will be drawn on Friday, Jan. 26 - at the festival - at 2:20 p.m.

"There's still some tickets available," said Woodhouse.

Tickets ($25 each or three tickets for $60) can still be purchased until Wednesday, Jan. 24 online at www.eventbrite.ca or by visiting or contacting the MSC office at 200 Broadway, Suite 206 (2nd Floor), 519-842-9008 ext 150 (anewson@multiservicecentre.com).

Enter to win an all expenses paid 'Winter Blues Getaway' weekend for four in Port Severn. The prize package includes two nights accommodation at the Rawley Resort, complimentary hot breakfast both mornings, $200 dinner credit for the Lighthouse 45 Restaurant, and a spa or ski package - $400 LakeHouse Spa voucher or $400 credit at Mount St. Louis Moonstone, along with an additional $100 prepaid VISA card.

Total prize is valued at $1,500.

cabbott@postmedia.com

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