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BGD_ReadsTomorrow is Family Literacy Day in Canada and the former Frontier College volunteer and all round book lover in me can’t let this one go without some reflection on the state of literacy in our home.

A quick search of the blog shows that I had EXACTLY THE SAME THOUGHT on this day last year.

So that makes this the second annual state of literacy update here at Baby Gates Down.

I’ll even use the same introductory image as last year, because, well, libraries rock.

Starting with my 3-year-old, she is currently obsessed with drawing and reading.

Or with staying up late – I’m not really sure which.

But either way, after bedtime routine, she frequently asks to stay up a bit longer to “read” or colour in bed.

I can’t see this as a very bad habit, so we usually let her for about 20 minutes and then come turn off the light.

In the meantime, she flips through her favourite books or colours and sometimes passes out with an open book over her, which I kind of adore.

Her favourites at the moment?

Alligator Pie, The Three Little Pigs, and The Smartest Giant in Town.

Images from GoodReads

Images from GoodReads

Big sis usually come in for the reading of the first two given they were both favourites of hers as well.

And I like doing the voices of the piggies and singing the songs like I remember them from back when I would turn the page every time Tinker Bell rang her little bells.

the-smartest-giant-in-town_endBut little sis? Her all time favourite at the moment is The Smartest Giant in town.

I can’t really argue with the choice. Older sister was a Gruffalo fan, but I think pretty much anything by Julia Donaldson is pretty wonderful.

I particularly like the message in this one – that the small gestures you do can mean the world to others.

Indeed, it is a theme I post about sometimes with my posts as part of the #1000Speak movement and I love that the book teaches young children about compassion.

As for big sis, reading and writing continues to be a struggle, but she’s improved by leaps and bounds since last year.

She now knows all her letters, simple blends, simple sight words, and can write her name and a handful of words despite it being messy and things like the letter “s” being backwards.

While homework often ends in tears, we continue working on it. To all her teachers EVER: Really. We do.

And I TRY to make it fun where possible.

I smiled when I visited last year’s post and saw this tweet:

Because a year later we are still tracing letters and numbers on the wall at bedtime by unicorn light. It remains a simple fun activity to do.

On the reading side we’re still about everything princess, now dutifully purchase from Scholastic to supplement our French library (she’s in French school – dad’s Francophone) and are busy working our way slowly through Level One readers.

She also has fun with the Ottawa Public Library’s online Jardin de la Lecture.

And lastly? We finally caved before our Christmas trip to Hawaii and bought a LeapPad to help get through the flights. The girls are sharing a swanky pink LeadPad3x. The first one died on the trip home. I finally got to Toys ‘R Us to exchange the dud last weekend and the new one has just been charged up. I’ll report back and let you know if it helps either on the literacy front.

As for me? Last year, I set a New Year’s Resolution via GoodReads to read 50 books. I finished the last of the 50 just under the wire on December 31st so I’m happy to say that 2015 was the year I rediscovered reading.


I’m MODELLING good reading behaviour. Or would be if they were still awake. I like to think they KNOW I’m reading 🙂

My list of 50 is here. I set the same goal for this year and am currently a book behind. In my defence, I’m working on three at the moment, so I think it should even out…

And not to leave my husband out, he reads too. His holiday read? 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi. If you like that sort of read, he recommends it.

So that’s where we stand with all things literacy over here. We plan to celebrate Family Literacy Day by getting through my 6-year-old’s homework without tears and still having enough energy for bedtime reading. Today, we did her homework at Pizza Pizza. I sincerely think THAT might have helped. So tomorrow, we may try the gym for another change of scenery. I am testing out a theory that homework in public is more productive. And the gym is probably a better lifestyle choice than Pizza Pizza.

What about you? Are books a big deal in your house? Any plans for Family Literacy Day? Any suggestions?