TORONTO, Jan. 27 /CNW/ - Ministers of education join today with parents and children in communities across Canada to celebrate the 13th annual Family Literacy Day.

Established in 1999 by ABC Life Literacy Canada, Family Literacy Day promotes family literacy and numeracy activities and encourages Canadians to make family time a chance for parents and children to learn together. To mark the day, activities and events are taking place for families throughout Canada, in schools and libraries, and in the community.

This year's theme, "Play for Literacy," recognizes the value of play in the development of strong reading and writing skills. Play-based learning offers children a wide variety of ways to exercise their growing literacy and numeracy skills and sets the stage for future formal learning. Research has confirmed that children who are encouraged to read, to use numbers, and to communicate with their families are more likely to be strong readers as adults. And in an increasingly knowledge-based world, educated citizens who are intellectually curious and engaged with learning will be essential to maintaining Canada's long-term social, cultural, and economic success.

"We are learning all the time, not just in the classroom," said the Honourable Diane McGifford, Chair of CMEC and Manitoba's Minister of Advanced Education and Literacy and Minister responsible for International Education. "Whether your kids are counting to 10 in a game of hide-and-go-seek, working out a word puzzle, or sharing a great story, playtime can be a great opportunity to strengthen family bonds, learn about each other and, in the process, exercise young — and not so young — minds."

CMEC first identified literacy as a priority early in the decade and confirmed its importance in its 2008 ministerial declaration, Learn Canada 2020. Since 2004, CMEC has held three highly successful forums on various aspects of literacy. CMEC has also furthered its advocacy work through a formal commitment to literacy issued in a 2009 report to Canadians on progress being made to raise literacy levels. CMEC's 2010 report on provincial and territorial literacy initiatives will be released in spring 2011.

About CMEC

Founded in 1967, CMEC is the collective voice of Canada's ministers of education. It provides leadership in education at the pan-Canadian and international levels and contributes to the fulfillment of the constitutional responsibility for education conferred on the provinces and territories. For more information, visit us at

SOURCE Council of Ministers of Education, Canada

For further information:

Colin Bailey
Director, Communications
Cell: 416-804-6548
Tel.: 416-962-8100, ext. 259

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