Communities Across Canada Join in Final Countdown to Family Literacy Day

    Hundreds of activities with thousands of participants planned for, and
    during the week leading up to, January 27 to celebrate the benefits of
    families reading and learning together

    TORONTO, Jan. 21 /CNW/ - ABC CANADA Literacy Foundation, Honda Canada and
best-selling author Robert Munsch, are rallying Canadians across the country
to make family literacy a priority through national Family Literacy Day (FLD)
promotions and celebrations taking place over the next week.
    "The Family Literacy Day initiative, now in its 11th year, continues to
be important because low literacy is a daily challenge for four out of 10
adult Canadians aged 16-65," says Margaret Eaton, President, ABC CANADA.
"While Family Literacy Day is celebrated annually on January 27, our hope is
that Canadians will practise family literacy every day, simply by setting
aside 15 minutes of family time together to read, play games, even follow a
recipe together."
    The national Family Literacy Day initiative was created by ABC CANADA and
Founding Sponsor Honda Canada in 1999 to celebrate families reading and
learning together on a daily basis. Canadian author Robert Munsch, Honorary
Chair of Family Literacy Day, has been an ambassador for the day for over five
years, and will appear at a number of events to celebrate and raise awareness
for Family Literacy Day on and before January 27.

    Family Literacy Day World Record Attempt

    The Family Literacy Day World Record Attempt is a prelude to Family
Literacy Day activities being held on January 27. The national, bilingual
initiative, encourages Canadian adults and children to engage in 30 minutes of
reading together between 2:00 pm EST on January 23 and 2:00 pm EST on January
24, 2009 to help break the Guinness World Record(TM) for "Most Children
Reading with an Adult, Multiple Locations." Munschworks 2, published by Annick
Press and featuring five classic Munsch stories, has been chosen as the book
to be read during the FLD World Record Attempt.
    To date, over 900 events, with an estimated 158,000 participants at
locations across the country, have been registered online in the attempt to
break the current U.S. record of 78,791 adults and children reading together.
    A kick off event is being planned at Toronto City Hall for this Friday,
January 23, with hundreds of school children and several celebrity guest
readers, including: Robert Munsch who will lead the story-telling; Jennifer
Valentyne, Co-host of City TV's "Breakfast Television"; Jake Gold, Co-star of
"Canadian Idol" and one of Canada's most successful artist managers and music
producers; Adam Vaughan, Toronto City Councillor, Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina;
and Janet Davis, Toronto City Councillor, Ward 31, Beaches-East York.
Officials from Honda Canada and Oxford Learning (the Official FLD World Record
Attempt Sponsor) will also be on site, along with Carey Low, Canadian record
keeper with Guinness World Records.

    Robert Munsch Storytelling at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)

    Robert Munsch will also make a special visit to SickKids on Tuesday,
January 27 where he will tell classic Munsch tales in typical Munsch style to
a group of captivated children and their families.
    This past weekend, Munsch visited the winners of the fourth annual Munsch
at Home Contest, a national contest that gives Canadian families a chance to
have Munsch visit them for their Family Literacy Day party. Families from
across Canada applied to the contest, describing their FLD events, and a
winner was chosen: the Kicknosway family of Ottawa. On Saturday, January 17,
Munsch joined the family and their friends at a party to begin celebrations
leading up to January 27.
    "I'm honoured to be part of Family Literacy Day," says Robert Munsch.
"Literacy is an issue that is near and dear to me and I feel it is important
to promote children and adults reading and learning together."

    Over a thousand events across the country

    In addition to events coordinated by ABC CANADA, a legion of people in
libraries, schools, literacy organizations and, of course, families, organize
and participate in events celebrating the day. Throughout the week leading up
to January 27, these celebrations are wide-ranging. Consider these events:

    -  Grey Mountain Primary School in Whitehorse, Yukon will gather all
       students to participate in an FLD World Record Attempt event on
       January 23.

    -  The Chilliwack Early Years Committee in Chilliwack, BC has challenged
       the entire city to read for 20 minutes a day between January 1 and 21.
       Participants fill in passports and submit them at the end to be
       entered into draws for prizes.

    -  Bon Accord Public Library in Alberta is planning an FLD celebration on
       January 24 that invites participates to write on a graffiti table,
       take part in an internet scavenger hunt, sing karaoke and/or
       participate in their FLD World Record Attempt event.

    -  Families are invited to Glen Elm Library in Regina, Saskatchewan to
       learn about literacy, try new family websites and enjoy snacks on
       January 27.

    -  The Flin Flon Public Library in Manitoba has invited the community to
       come "unplug" and read in their 10th Annual Reading Rally, which will
       feature celebrities telling stories, sing-alongs and prizes.

    -  The McCord Museum of Canadian History in Montréal, Quebec is hosting a
       bilingual FLD World Record Attempt event on January 24 where Munsch's
       stories will be told in both English and French by volunteer actors.
       The museum also has an interactive exhibition titled Much More Munsch,
       dedicated to the work of this celebrated Canadian author on display
       until April.

    -  Employees and contractors working at the remote Voisey's Bay Mine Site
       in Newfoundland and Labrador will celebrate their third annual FLD
       celebration at the Voisey's Bay Skills Development Centre on January
       22. Free materials will be available, such as adult and children's
       books, mining posters, activity and resource sheets, magazines,
       calendars and prizes.

    -  The Literacy Coalition of New Brunswick in Fredericton has partnered
       with Sutherland Honda to present an FLD World Record Attempt event.
       Renowned storyteller Joan Meade will read, refreshments will be served
       and goodie bags will be distributed to children.

    -  The Alberton Public Library in PEI is challenging local families to
       word games such as Scrabble(TM), Boggle(TM) and hangman on January 27.

    ABC CANADA also acknowledges the generosity of numerous corporate and
media supporters enabling, among other things, the distribution of materials
and public service announcements that bring family literacy and learning
messages to millions of Canadians. The support of FLD Founding Sponsor Honda
Canada over the last 11 years has been particularly essential to the success
of FLD.
    "At Honda, we recognize the importance of giving back to the communities
where our dealers, associates and customers live, work and play," says Jerry
Chenkin, Executive Vice President, Honda Canada..." With Honda's 260 dealers
across Canada and through our partnership with ABC CANADA, the opportunity to
make a real difference in literacy amongst adults and their families has been
truly brought to life."
    For more information on Family Literacy Day and a listing of events in
your area, visit the Family Literacy Day website at
    If you can't find an event in your area, check with your local library,
school or literacy organization or contact ABC CANADA at 1-800-303-1004.

    About Family Literacy Day

    Family Literacy Day, held annually on January 27, was developed by ABC
CANADA Literacy Foundation and Honda Canada in 1999 to encourage families to
read and learn together on a daily basis. Last year, for Family Literacy Day's
tenth year celebrations, it is estimated that over 275,000 Canadians
participated in literacy activities at home and in schools, libraries and
literacy organizations across the country. For more information, visit

    About Honda Canada

    Honda is the world's pre-eminent maker of engines for automobiles,
motorcycles and power equipment. With 135 manufacturing facilities in 28
countries worldwide, Honda now attracts more than 23 million customers
annually. Honda Canada manufactures the Honda Ridgeline, Civic sedan and
coupe, the Acura CSX and MDX, in addition to fuel-efficient four cylinder
engines at its three plants in Alliston, Ontario.

    About ABC CANADA Literacy Foundation

    ABC CANADA Literacy Foundation is Canada's private-sector voice
championing adult literacy. The national charity envisions a Canada where
individuals, regardless of their circumstances, are provided the opportunities
to increase the skills that prepare people for realizing their full potential
at work, at home and in the community. To learn more, visit

For further information:

For further information: MEDIA CONTACTS: Karen Benner, Communications
Manager, Phone: (416) 218-0010 x 122, Toll free: 1-800-303-1004 x 122, email:; Ashley Tilley, Communications Coordinator, Phone:
(416) 218-0010 x 127, Toll free: 1-800-303-1004 x 127, email:

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