A King George School classroom was visited by Brandon East NDP MLA Drew Caldwell, who read from an age-appropriate biography of Nelson Mandela as part of I Love to Read Month. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
King George School student Tray Contois, above, reads in class on Wednesday. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
Stressing the importance of reading to kick off I Love to Read Month, Education and Advanced Learning Minister James Allum announced the province is increasing funding for early literacy intervention.
"We all know that reading is an essential skill that is the foundation for lifelong learning," Allum said. "But reading also develops a child’s imagination and through reading children learn about people, places and ideas beyond their own experiences. The benefits go far beyond the classroom."
The minister said funding for early literacy intervention will increase in the coming year by more than $240,500 to help give more children the help they need to develop this essential skill, adding the government is investing $7.8 million annually to help more than 2,000 students in Grade 1 with one on-one supports to help them succeed in reading at an early age.
One of the programs that will benefit from this funding is Reading Recovery, which gives students valuable one-on-one instruction to help them accelerate their learning and reading capabilities, he said.
I Love to Read is an annual month-long celebration to encourage reading, writing and sharing in the joy of literacy. This year’s theme, Invent Your Future, encourages children to stretch their creative minds and think like inventors, scientists and mathematicians.
"Literacy is the academic foundation not only for further study or for employment, but for engaged citizenship," said Paul Olson, president of the Manitoba Teachers’ Society.
"As teachers, we work hard to bring our students rich and diverse reading experiences to make them literate with a wide range of forms and styles of reading. We do this all year round but I Love to Read Month really celebrates and highlights that work."
Allum noted parents, guardians and family members play a major role in helping young children learn to appreciate the power of pictures and stories.
"Reading to your child every day increases literacy skills and is one of the most important things you can do to prepare him or her for learning to read," he said.
"I encourage families to share the excitement of reading together, as parents, grandparents and other family members are a key to success in helping kids learn to love reading."
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Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition February 6, 2014