From February 18 – March 1 this year, more than 65 newcomer families from across Halifax Regional Municipality participated in the national Adopt-a-Reader campaign presented by Mothers Matter in partnership with TD Bank and First Book Canada.
The Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program at ISANS helps immigrant parents support their pre-school aged children prepare for school, while also providing support, resources and referrals to parents to help them with their integration needs. During the Adopt-a-Reader program, parents are supported to help other families increase their parent-child reading.
Thirty-three families in the HIPPY program each “adopted” a newcomer family for two weeks. They supported building literacy skills with their children by providing useful tips to develop early literacy skills and to spark an early love of reading by encouraging reading together for 15 minutes each day. As part of the campaign, First Book Canada provided each family two new books to read to their children.
“We’ve had a lot of interest in the Adopt-a-Reader campaign,” says Sanaa Youssef, Coordinator of the HIPPY program at ISANS. “Almost all HIPPY families participated in the campaign. It’s great because parents, especially mothers, develop the habit of reading to their little ones and children start to love reading. That special time spent reading together creates a very strong bond between the mother and child.”
Echoing that statement, a mother in the program said she found reading to her child before sleep helped her establish a routine of sleeping time, and that her “daughter loves to read before going to sleep and enjoys the time they spent together.”
To celebrate the end of the campaign, participants gathered at ISANS on Friday, March 7, for a Celebration of Reading where they received certificates. Check out some photos below!