Virtual book club promoting early literacy launches Wednesday

·2 min read

A weekly book club promoting early literacy is launching tomorrow on Family Literacy Day.

The three EarlyON centres in Timmins have partnered to offer a free virtual storytime session for children and their families and caregivers.

The book club will take place every Wednesday, starting Jan. 27, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Three different stories — in English, in French, and about Indigenous culture — will be read by a representative from each of the centre via Zoom.

The three EarlyON centres are the Timmins Native Friendship Centre, Timmins NEOFACS and Timmins YMCA.

“This way, we’ll help families engage in literacy with their children and read books,” said Julie Nowlan, Timmins YMCA's early years co-ordinator. “Sometimes, they may not know which books to read or they may not have books at home either, so at least having the program every week, they have three books read to them.”

All of the books can be counted toward the Timmins 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten (B4K) program.

It is an early literacy program that encourages families and caregivers to read 1,000 books with their children before they go to kindergarten.

“If you read three books a day for three years, you can get to 1,000 books before your child reaches kindergarten,” Nowlan said. "Literacy is always a big component in all our of our centres, so it’s nice to be able to offer that.”

For each hit milestone, such as reading 100, 250, 500 and 750 books, children will receive a certificate and a prize. Once they read 1,000 books, they get a bigger prize and can start the program again.

The program was launched last year in partnership with the Timmins Public Library. So far, there are 326 children registered for the Timmins 1,000 B4K program.

“We had people hit their milestones of reaching 1,000 books,” said Gabriella Desmarais, Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board (CDSSAB) program manager for EarlyON Child and Family Centre Quality Assurance.

Once someone registers for the 1,000 Books B4K program, they will receive a literacy kit that contains a reading log, a book and all the information needed for the program.

“We’re definitely going to continue it for sure,” Nowlan said about the virtual book club. “I assume it will continue until virtual programming is no longer. And if not, it will continue in our centre, so we’ll definitely read books when they come in and visit us.”

The Zoom link for Jan. 27 book club meeting can be found here. Registration is not required to join the event.

For more information about the Timmins 1000 Books B4K program, click here.

Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,