On Sunday, January 25th, Conestoga Mall was flooded with children and families looking to celebrate the 17th annual Family Literacy Day in style. The event offered fun and engaging activities for children of all ages, from babies to young adults. With almost 600 visitors to the Strong Start booth, we certainly had a blast!

Coordinated by the Early Literacy Alliance of Waterloo Region, 20 community organizations were there for the fun including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region, Kitchener Public Library, Our Place Early Years Centre, Waterloo Region District School Board and the Waterloo Catholic District School Board. Families visited booths to get their literacy passports stamped and, before leaving, received their choice of a free book. Along with the amusements at the booths, families were treated to live performances by Erick Traplin and the Chorale de école élémentaire catholique Mère-Élisabeth-Bruyère, family storytimes, including a reading by author Erin Bow, a mascot face-off between the University of Waterloo Athletics Department and community mascots, and the creation of a community comic strip with graphic artist Michael McKay.

Family favourite activities from the Strong Start booth included the Alphabet Bean Bag Toss, and the Race to the Castle Board Game from our Letters, Sounds and Words program, and the animal habitat matching game, and rhyming words activity from our Get Ready for School program. We were happy to have Strong Start volunteers visit our booth to say hello, and share their experiences with the Letters, Sounds and Words program. We also had a few parents stop by to tell us what a difference our programs made for their children. Thank you very much to the Early Literacy Alliance of Waterloo Region for organizing such a wonderful event. We also thank Conestoga Mall for hosting this celebration, and event sponsors Coles Book Store, The Museum, Scholastic Canada, Waterloo Region Museum, Wintergreen and the Waterloo Region Record Community Partnerships Program. We look forward to participating in this interactive and fun-filled event next year!