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Share a Book campaign boosts family literacy

Children and families that rely on Greater Sudbury food banks will soon be able to build their book collections and enjoy reading together at home more often.
Cambrian College President Sylvia Barnard accepts the first official book donations to the 2013 Share a Book campaign from Alyssa, right, and Maddie Coulson, daughters of Cambrian ECE student, Valerie McLaughlin. Supplied photo.
Children and families that rely on Greater Sudbury food banks will soon be able to build their book collections and enjoy reading together at home more often.

Students and staff at Cambrian College are working with the Best Start Early Literacy program and the Greater Sudbury Public Library to collect and distribute new and gently used English and French children’s books to families through local food banks, the college said in a news release.

“Not all children have equal access to books in their homes,” said Marilyn Clarini, a Best Start Early Literacy Consultant.

“In addition to borrowing books at the public library, building a home collection means youngsters will always have a few favourite books that they can read again and again. Through the Share a Book program, we’re supporting families by making it easier for them to read together on a regular basis, which promotes early literacy and increases a child’s motivation to read as he or she grows older.”

Donated books can be dropped off until March 4 at any branch of the Greater Sudbury Public Library or at Cambrian College in the One-Stop Enrolment Centre.

Emily Matheson, a professor in Cambrian’s Early Childhood Education program, will be helping her students and colleagues sort the books to ensure that they are appropriate, and in good condition.

“Our faculty and students are very enthusiastic about the Share a Book program, because they understand the importance of reading to children,” Matheson said.

“Reading together builds a child’s self-confidence and helps him or her to develop life-long literacy skills.

“We want to make sure that every family has great books at home, so they can enjoy rewarding reading experiences. Many of the students and faculty will be donating books, and they’re also volunteering their time to sort through all of the donations and help with distribution.”

With 13 locations across the city, the Greater Sudbury Public Library is lending its support, providing a place for donors to drop off books for families in need.

Children’s librarian Monique Roy said the project will really help families with fewer resources to build their own home libraries, which encourages them to read together more often.

“Children who are read to on a regular basis develop stronger family bonds, better language skills, and perform better in school.”

The 2013 Share a Book campaign launched in conjunction with Family Literacy Day in Canada, which falls on Jan. 27.

Cambrian President Sylvia Barnard said she’s thrilled that staff and students are co-ordinating the initiative once again, after a very successful initial campaign.

“Working with our community partners, our students helped to collect, sort, and distribute over 1,500 books to area hospital and medical clinic waiting rooms in 2011,” said Barnard.

“This time, they are volunteering to help more families in this community, which is an important part of their education.

“It’s another example of how service-learning is embedded in Cambrian programs and the positive impact it has on our city, and our students.”