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Family Literacy Activities and Ideas for Everyday of the Week and More!

Everyday is Family Literacy Day on this website.  Literacy development is a partnership between school, home and community.  This resource will help give you some additional ideas to promote fun family literacy activities at your home. Make literacy a part of everyday activities at your household and create an enhanced literacy environment.  Try some of the ideas below to inject some fun into family literacy ideas and activities.

Don't forget to look at the reading and writing resource pages as these may help to provide you with some additional insights.

It is back to school time.  Get a good start by ensuring that your child goes to bed early, has breakfast at home or goes to the school breakfast program and establish an early interest in what is happening at school.  Ask your child each day to specifically recall learning from the day and establish a time, place and expectation for homework and engaging in literacy practices at home.  Some of the ideas on the calendar below will be helpful to you as you engage in literacy activities with your family.  Families are partners with schools and the community in literacy learning and promotion.

Some special dates and ideas for literacy activities for families-

The Nova Scotia Department of Education has a links page to some resources in the province that help support family literacy. 

  • Thinking about exams and your study skills?  Here are some ideas that may help you- Improving your studying, How to study - a page of resources from Bridgewater Jr./Sr. High School Guidance Department, and sample questions and study guides for many grade 12 exams can be found also on the NS Dept. of Ed. website. Check on the right hand side of the page and choose the subject you are interested in for more information. 

  • Use EBSCO together with your child when working doing research.  Pose some questions and then go to EBSCO and do the research in a safer online environment.  Your child's teacher can give you the URL and password for EBSCO for your school.

  • Show your interest in your child's school day (even when they don't seem too excited about it).  Ask questions that will help you find out about the day.  e.g. What was the best part of your day?  What was one thing that you learned today that interested you?  Be sure to ask questions that go beyond yes and no responses. 

  • With your child visit the school's website to see about upcoming events.  Also visit his/her class website. 

  • Read with your child and engage in activities that support and promote learning.  See the ideas that can be adapted to any age in the calendar below.

  • Create a calendar with your child that shows the month. Draw in something to represent each day of the month. Students can put in family events, plans, upcoming school items...

  • Getting back into a routine can often be difficult after a holiday.  This site has developed checklists you can use for preschool, elementary, middle and senior high students.

  • Get a place at home prepared for homework and studying. Encourage your child to be involved in reading throughout the summer.  It does not always have to be an onerous task, it can be fun with some of the ideas below that help to promote literacy.  Homework help tips

  • Learn how to search more effectively on the internet.  Warning- Don't try everything at once.

  • Try some of the ideas in the literacy and technology ideas calendar below   Ideas for everyday of the month! Below are some ideas to promote Family Literacy.  These activities are designed for upper elementary aged students to give you some additional ideas of things that you can do with your child to show him/her that literacy is important in your family but that it can also be fun!  These ideas can be easily adapted for students in other grade levels too.  Many of the ideas also have hyperlinks to other websites to give you examples, more ideas and background information.  As these sites are housed outside of this one we cannot be responsible for any changes made in those sites. 

  • Find out all about the upcoming month and significant events that occurred throughout the month from Wikipedia a free on-line encyclopedia.

  • Sometimes we tend to dwell on the weather.  It is not surprising considering the type of climate in which we live.  Next time your child asks you about the weather refer him/her to Environment Canada's website for the latest and most complete information. 

  • Don't forget to bookmark your school's website on your computer.  Most schools post the newsletter, calendar and valuable information about the school on their site. Read the website with your child and get informed about events at your school.

  • Practice good internet safety and establish your home internet use expectations.

Ideas for everyday of the month 
& more

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

Try the word of the day site and try to get each family member to use the word of the day as many ways and times as they can.  Have a family use contest to see how many times your family can use the word of the day today.

Create your own word search. Use your vocabulary lists from any subject, create fun word searches for family and friends to solve. Find out about the world- look at Google Maps.  You can get directions, find restaurants, look at satellite and road maps of your destination and all points in between. Need a brain boost today? Try one of the many boosters on this educational site. There are so many to choose from that that will be your first brain challenge! The stars have always been a fascination.  Find out more about the constellations and try to pick them out. . Cut out one thought provoking article from the newspaper and put it on the breakfast table for your child to read.  Then discuss the contents of the article and share your thoughts with each other on it. To shake it up have your child find an article for you to read and discuss with him/her. Your conversation is certain to be different on Saturday mornings! Go to the Quotes of the Day site and print off a copy of today's quote.  Discuss what this quote means with your family. Keep track of 'quotable' things that your family members say and make your own family quote book.


Go for a walk together after your child finishes his or homework. 

For Facts on Children's Fitness and the link to health and academic performance.


Have your child write a thank you note to someone who gave him/her a Gift.


Many word processing programs have templates for letters.  There is also a section on this in the Student Writers in Action Handbook. 

Let your child help you make dinner tonight. This includes: planning the menu, reading the recipes, setting the table, helping to serve and cleaning up. 


For some great recipes go to the Internet and conduct a search in one of your favourite food websites. 

Start a journal of family activities.  Include pictures in the journal that have been drawn or taken with a camera.



Have your child keep track of everything he/she eats today. Talk about  
healthy eating habits and what changes (if any) could be made.

Canada's Food Guide and links to student activities.

Turn off the Electronics and have a family game night. 

Try these books on-line.The International Children's Digital Library has over 500 free books on-line for you too read.  

Can't find something you like on the site above- try this one for materials for all ages- The Internet Public Library


Go outside and build a snow sculpture or a sand castle.


Get inspired with these photos from the Canadian Snow Sculpture Team  or check out Google Images for sandcastles.

More tips on creating a sand castle.

Use the weather section of the newspaper to check temperatures in other Canadian cities or in different countries. Where is it coldest? Where is it warmest? Are there any that are the same?

For online newspapers from around the world try the PaperBoy.

For local information try South Shore Now or the Chronicle Herald on-line

Supply your child with things like paper, crayons, glue, markers, magazines and scissors. Ask him to create a collage that reflects all the things he'd    
like to do on a snow day, school break or on a weekend.. Discuss his ideas and make plans to follow through
on some of the activities.

-Other Arts and Crafts ideas

 Go through the house with your child and find as many textures as    
possible - shiny, smooth, embossed, corrugated, rough, soft, fuzzy and     


Go a step further and become an archeologist.  What kind of textured items have been found in the digs described in the Nova Scotia Museum website?

Look at a map of Canada with your child. Ask him to point out the different provinces and territories. Who is Canada's Prime Minister? Visit a library or book mobile and choose books to read.  Make sure that your child is able to read the text independently.  Have your child show you the 'five finger rule.' Do some research at the library, book mobile or on the internet about an upcoming holiday and why it is significant.
Go outside and look for evidence of wildlife.  Keep track of what you find and discuss when you come back indoors. Find an interesting story in the newspaper to share with your child. Read it to him or her and discuss it.  Make a list of emergency numbers to hang on the refrigerator.  Discuss this information with your child and    
other family members.


For a more complete look see this sample Babysitters emergency and information guide from  Canadian Parents OnLine.             

Create an acrostic poem. Put your family name vertically down the left hand side of a sheet of paper.  Use each letter to describe your family.  e.g T- talented 

Site for creating acrostic poems to get you started.

Put a note in with your child's lunch today inviting him/her to meet you at a specific time and room in your house after school today.  Plan an activity to do together this weekend. Share books. Read part of a book you are reading to your child and then have her read her book to you. Compare the two books. What are the similarities and differences? Create a family story today.  Write the first sentence and then pass it on to the next family member.  This person writes the next sentence and passes it on. You can start the story at breakfast and continue to pass it on throughout the day. Share the story with everyone at supper.  
Have your child draw a picture of a favourite outdoor activity.  Then, go outside and do it!  Encourage your child to teach you something new today. Let him brainstorm some ideas and you can choose what you would like to learn about. . Today, make a list of some things that you would like to teach your child. Have her read the list and decide what she would like to learn about. Have your child clean out his closet and drawers today.  Anything that does not fit any more can be given to charity. Watch a T.V. show with your child tonight. Be sure to watch the commercials and help point out the sales techniques being used.

Media Awareness information.

Does your child want a special priviledge, have a friend sleep over or an allowance?  Have her write a persuasive letter to you? Discuss the letter with your child and reach a decision. Develop your goals for the week.  Use a graphic organizer to show your plan. Review your plan mid week to help you keep on track. Revise the plan as needed. Check your plan again at the end of the week and celebrate your successes.

Thinking about exams and your study skills?  Here are some ideas that may help you- Improving your studying, How to study - a page of resources from Bridgewater Jr./Sr. High School Guidance Department, and sample questions and study guides for many grade 12 exams can be found also on the NS Dept. of Ed. website. 


High School Exams

Common questions about NS grade 12 examinations.

Visit this Kid's Lab website for your P-3 student and get some valuable reading games and ideas.

This site has been designed to assist students who need additional support with reading and includes some ideas to do over holidays.

Students from K-4 will enjoy author Jan Brett's website. She has flash cards, handwriting cards, games, puzzles, holiday activities and so much more in the thousands of pages she has created. Read a good book.  Relate the book to an experience that your family will have or has had and make your child responsible for sharing the information with the rest of the family. e.g. book on soccer to help everyone brush up on the rules before you have a game at your family reunion, travel book on somewhere you plan to visit, a how to book on something that you will be making at your home.... Start a book club. Invite your family, neighbours and friends  to participate. 

Here is a site that tells kids how to start their own bookclub.

Give your child a  journal. The journal can be used for fiction and non-fiction purposes and may include drawings too. The $ store is a great place to find inexpensive journal type books.
Set up a consistent location in your house for homework to be completed. Set-up this area with a good surface to spread books out on, a sturdy chair, pencils, paper, eraser, dictionary, thesaurus, writers handbook, and a computer (if one is available). Establish a consistent homework time. Routines help students to know what to expect and help to eliminate many homework hassles and avoidance techniques.


Homework help tips. Although this article is American and there may be a few differences, the basic content provided here is useful for parents with students of all ages.


Ten Wacky Family Literacy Ideas Find out about your favourite author or illustrator.  Take a look at their website and learn more about them.  Then try creating one of your own books to pattern from a book or illustrator that you like Find out about famous Canadian Women and what they accomplished. Listen to a story on-line Play a word game The following reference is from Michigan and contains some fabulous ideas to help promote literacy over the summer months (but ideas can also be adapted for other holiday time periods too) and are organized by grade level.  Check out Family Fundamentals designed to assist parents in working with their early elementary aged students in the summer.
Need some ideas for your teen. Try some of the ideas provided by Page Wise. Geocaching can be a fun family activity.  Find out what it is and how your family can get involved. Hiking trails in Nova Scotia are plentiful.  Have your child research a good place for your family to go hiking. Nova Scotia has some beautiful provincial parks close to you.  Find out more about them and plan to visit one nearby. Find out more about Nova Scotia and plan a family outing. Creating a literate home environment for younger children. Education is not the same all over the world.  Find out about how UNESCO is trying to help promote educational opportunities in other countries.




This site was last updated on 02/09/10.

Sue Taylor-Foley, Coordinator of Assessment and Technology, South Shore Regional School Board, Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, Canada

Material on this site may be used for educational purposes only.  Please request permission for other uses from the author. No responsibility can be assumed for sites linked from this one.