Patrick Administration Proclaims November to be Family Literacy MonthMALDEN - The Patrick Administration has proclaimed November 2013 to be the Commonwealth's 17th annual Family Literacy Month in recognition of the pivotal role that parents and family members play in the educational success of their children.
To celebrate and recognize Family Literacy Month, communities across the state will host activities throughout November to bring together families in support of literacy, lifelong learning, and family well-being.
"Children who can read at an early age have a much greater chance of succeeding in today's global economy, and every family should make an effort to spend more time reading with our youngest citizens," said Governor Deval Patrick.
"Reading is the foundation on which an excellent education is built," said Education Secretary Matthew Malone. "We must encourage all family members to partner with children to develop literacy skills. Take out some extra time during this Family Literacy Month to read together."
The Patrick Administration is committed to building children's early literacy skills from pre-K through grade 3 as part of a statewide strategy to enhance program quality across sectors and improve student outcomes. The Early Literacy Expert Panel, established under legislation signed by Governor Patrick in September 2012, met for the first time this week. The panel will develop recommendations on literacy curricula, effective instructional practices, pre-service and in-service professional development, and family partnership strategies, among others.
Schools across the Commonwealth are also implementing the 2011 Massachusetts Curriculum Framework in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics, which incorporate the Common Core State Standards. The new standards, which are more rigorous, coherent, and focused than previous standards, reinforce the importance of reading, writing, speaking, and listening across all subjects, and not just ELA.
"Educators are energized by the new standards, and we are developing new online resources and tools they can use in the classroom," said Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. "But building a strong foundation in literacy is a shared responsibility of families and educators, and essential to students' future success."
Family Literacy Month is sponsored by the Massachusetts Family Literacy Consortium (MFLC), a group of state agencies, community organizations, parents, and providers dedicated to expanding and strengthening family literacy and support. Among the activities taking place in November across Massachusetts are the following:
- November 2 (Cambridge) – The 17th Annual Cambridge Family Literacy Fun Day will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Cambridge City Hall. The event, which is free and open to all Cambridge families with children in pre-K through grade 3, will include children's activities, free books, Bonaparte the Magician, sing-a-longs, face painting, and more. The Cambridge Family Literacy Collaborative, which includes seven major organizations and agencies, sponsors this annual event.
- November 4 (Southborough) – Southborough Public Library invites parents with children ages 2-5 for a preschool story time from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m. The story time will feature several stories and a craft based on a weekly theme. No registration is required for this event.
- November 6 and 23 (Medford): Medford Public Library is providing story times for children ages 2-5 at 10 a.m. Parents and their children will enjoy hearing stories and doing a simple craft. No advance registration is necessary for this event.
- November 9 (Lawrence): Community Pathways Lawrence, a local partnership of community organizations, will conduct a Family Literacy Day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Lawrence Public Library. Everyone is welcome to attend and no reservations are required. Several community leaders will participate in the day as celebrity readers. Every child will receive a free book. There will be refreshments, prizes, and family friendly entertainment. For more information or to ask questions, please contact Betsy Leeman, Director of the Asian Center of Merrimack Valley, Inc., at 978-683-7316 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- November 9 (Chelsea) – The city's 8th Annual Family Literacy Day, "Chelsea Reads," will take place at the Chelsea Public Library from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Raising a Reader and the Chelsea/Revere Family and Community Network Program are partnering with the library to provide this free event for toddlers and up. The event will include book-based activities, storytellers, face painting, and a disc jockey providing age appropriate music. Police Chief Brian Kyes, State Senator Sal DiDomenico, State Representative Eugene O'Flaherty, and other special guests will read books to children. While supplies last, all children under 12 will receive a backpack containing several books.
- November 9 (Wrentham) – The Fiske Public Library invites families to Sweet Dreams – Bedtime Tales at 10 a.m. Award-winning storyteller Diane Edgecomb will fully enact classic fairytales including Snow White, Rose Red, and Goldilocks and The Three Bears. Tickets for this free event are available at the library's circulation desk. The Wrentham Food Pantry will also collect canned-good donations.
- November 16 (Mashpee) – The Mashpee Public Library invites families to learn all about dinosaurs during a family science program at 10:30 a.m. The event will include fun, hands-on activities for children age 3 and up. The Mashpee Coordinated Family and Engagement Grant will help support this free event. No registration is required.
- November 18 (Kingston) – The Kingston Public Library invites parents and children to discover some fun ways to reinforce early literacy at home. The event is from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and will feature various early literacy stations during a fun, interactive program. The South Shore Community Action Council's Coordinated Family and Community Program is sponsoring this event, which will be facilitated by Stephanie Legg, the children's librarian at Kingston Public Library. Registration is required by sending an email to email@example.com or completing a form available at the library.