This week, it's officially time to open a book and sit down with the family.

Family Literacy Week was proclaimed last night during Swift Current city council. The week, from January 22 to 28, is set to encourage reading at home amongst families with young children.

Presenting the matter to city council was the threefold team of Bula Ghosh of the Southwest Literacy Committee, Kathryn Foley of the Chinook Regional Library, and Laura Beddome of the Swift Current Early Years Family Resource Centre.

"Studies have shown that children who were exposed to books at home early in life have a greater chance of acquiring good reading and writing skills," said Ghosh. "We cannot speak enough about how important good reading and writing skills can be for the success of any individual."

When families read together at home while children are young, it helps to instill a lifelong curiosity for reading. By fostering a love of literature, children have a better grasp of learning, imagination, and creativity.

"The early years are a precious and significant time in the experience of a family," said Beddome. "Every member of the family is deserving of supportive services and opportunities throughout this time."

The Swift Current Early Years Family Resource Centre is equipped with materials and programs to help families get started with literacy. They have materials suitable for children six and under, down to the youngest of toddlers and babies. 

By working to have parents read to the children before they themselves can read, it helps them associate reading with the familiar. Seeing mom and dad read leads to imitation, which leads to trying, which leads to reading.

"No matter how literacy is practiced, the final outcome will always leave us in a better place in our lives," said Foley. "Celebrate and share your heritage of learning in celebration of Family Literacy Day."

In order to encourage the sharing of literary culture, the Saskatchewan Literacy Network has set up various events.

This year, the Swift Current Branch Library will be having a book reading on the 27 at 10 a.m. The featured book is Li'l Shadd: A Story of Ujima. The book provides a glimpse of the Saskatchewan Afro-Canadian cultural scene. 

For more information on other programs and events, you can contact the Swift Current Branch Library at 306-778-2752.0