Thousands of books collected during literacy week

By Tanya Cronin
January 28, 2016 - 4:48pm Updated: January 28, 2016 - 5:48pm

KAMLOOPS — It's well known that reading and writing are fundamental skills for learning in school, and have an impact on an individual's ability to succeed in life. But research shows far too many adults have low literacy skills, and fewer parents are taking the time to read to their children. As part of literacy week, families and people of all ages, are being urged to unplug from digital devices, pick up a book, and spend more time together.

WATCH: Full story by Reporter Tanya Cronin

Boxes upon boxes full of thousands of books are all piling up. The reading options, endless.

"We probably have 5,000 at this point and still have 10 more schools to pick up from, we're thinking we'll have a bumper load this year, probably 15,000 books," says Fiona Clare, Literacy Outreach Coordinator.

Volunteers are spending countless hours sorting and cleaning each piece of literature, donated as part of literacy week through the Heap the Honda campaign. The books, destined for 22 bright red bookshelves in the city, giving people of all walks of life, a chance to read.

"We have volunteers that keep bookshelves stocked with free donated books throughout the year, so families have access to good quality books that they can take home and keep," says Clare. 

Reading and writing is crucial to our quality of life, to being successful, and to developing strong communities. But research shows 25% of adults don't have the literacy skills needed to get a job, and to stay healthy. Which is why parents are being encouraged to limit screen time, and read to their children. Something that's proving more difficult in today's digital society. 

"We need to move to be healthy and fit, we need to talk to each other and interact and have face to face time to build social and emotional skills, and so I don't think we know yet what the impact of this huge screen age is going to be on our future generations," says Clare.

A recent report by the American Pediatric Society found almost half of children under the age of 1 are already able to navigate a digital device, that number jumps to 77% for children under the age of two. 

"Every household should have 75 books for their child in that house for them to read, especially the unfortunate. They can't afford 75 new books, and we get some great books here," says Faith Bailey, Retired Teacher-Librarian.

This week, 6,000 students are making an effort to 'Unplug and Play' challenging themselves to reduce time in front of the TV, computer, tablet, and smartphone. So find that healthy balance and pick up a book, because literacy starts right at birth, and is a lifelong journey.

"Every night, and start even when they're babies. 3, 4 months start reading to them, looking at at pictures, bright colours, it's important, very important," says Bailey.

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