Industry Notes: Canada’s Family Literacy Day and World Read Aloud Day

In News by Porter Anderson

In close proximity to each other on the calendar, Canada’s Family Literacy Day and Scholastic’s World Read Aloud Day promote young readers’ literacy at home.

Image: Family Literacy Day, ABC Life Literacy Canada

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘To Spark a Love for Reading’
Today, as on every January 27 since 1999, the Toronto-based charity First Book Canada is staging Family Literacy Day, which focuses on supporting parents and other caregivers in promoting reading with youngsters.

The program’s partnership with McDonald’s Canada sees 300 books donated to local community centers.

The cooperative program also includes “Family Night” events at 10 McDonald’s locations on Wednesday (January 29) in Richmond (British Columbia); Edmonton; Saskatoon; Winnipeg; Kingston; Longueuil; Paradise; Upper Tantallon; Charlottetown; and Oromocto.

In each of those events, local authors will give readings and McDonald’s will then give 100 of those authors’ books to attendees at each location.

The company and First Book Canada, will also donate books to the 15 Ronald McDonald Houses in the Canadian market. That program provides free housing for families with children who have to travel for medical care. The homes for families, set near treatment centers, are equipped with “Free Little Libraries,” and these books will go to replenish those libraries with children’s books for the use of the visiting families.

In a prepared statement, McDonald’s Canada’s senior national marketing manager Michelle McIlmoyle is quoted, saying, “This partnership with First Book Canada further strengthens our commitment to literacy across the country, and we’re thrilled to be working with a partner who strongly believes in improving access to educational opportunities for children.”

For First Book Canada, the charity’s executive director, Tom Best, asserts, “The partnership with McDonald’s Canada helps provide better access to literacy for so many Canadian youth, and it’s exciting  for us to be a key player in putting books in the hands of kids and helping to spark a love for reading.”

McDonald’s Canada began its corporate-responsibility involvement in children’s literacy programs in 2017, in a partnership with the children’s book publisher Kids Can Press. A second publisher has been added to the program, we’re told by Kids Can Press, and McDonald’s has confirmed that the second publisher as Hodder Children’s Books, a division of Hachette Children’s Group.

During the 10 family literacy events on Wednesday, Kids Can Press will have an author participating in five of the locations.

Happy Meal books in Canada include both English- and French-language titles, with a set of four new books being offered every eight weeks. Children choose between a toy and a book in the Happy Meal promotion.

Scholastic’s World Read Aloud Day: February 4

Image: Artwork by Peter H. Reynolds for Scholastic’s 2020 World Read Aloud Day

As it happens, Canada’s Family Literacy Day is followed next week by Scholastic’s annual World Read Aloud Day, which—as Publishing Perspectives readers will remember—was bolstered last year by research for the publisher’s biennial family reading study.

Two key points of that research from the Kids and Family Reading Report in its seventh edition were, as we reported:

  • The percentage of parents reading aloud during a child’s first three months is up nearly 50 percent since 2014, and the number of 6- to 8-year-olds being read to on five to seven days a week up 7 percent since 2016
  • While a majority of families (55 percent) said they read aloud five to seven days a week before a child turns 6, this percentage then begins to decline dramatically, even as research shows read-that aloud frequency can help shape a young child into a frequent reader

The World Read Aloud Day program, established by  LitWorld and sponsored by Scholastic, has participation in what Scholastic says is 173 countries and has been staged by the publisher for 11 years.

More about the research, the issue, and February 5 activities can be found here.

More from Publishing Perspectives on children’s books is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.