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Bookmark These 6 Ways to Celebrate National Family Literacy Month

Do you still remember your favorite childhood book? Was it filled with eye-catching illustrations that jumped off the page? Did it have a heroic main character who saved the day? Or was your best memory less about the content and more about the company you kept? That is what National Family Literacy Month is all about – togetherness. Make this November a time where you create new, everlasting memories with your girl that she’ll keep in her heart forever. Keep reading to discover (and bookmark!) 6 innovative ways to celebrate National Family Literacy Month! 

  1. Play word-based games – Any game centered around identifying letters, words, and punctuation count for this one! After all, those are the building blocks that make up books, right? Word-based games like Scrabble help build vocabulary and prompt critical thinking. Word searches are great for teaching your girl new words and crossword puzzles are a nice option as they educate proper spelling. Additionally, Scattergories is a solid choice since it requires quick thinking and quick note-taking! Have you tried all those and want to try something new with your girl? Check out this list for additional ideas! 
  2. Sign your girl up for a library card (or schedule a library visit day) – Taking your reading out of the house opens your girl up to an entirely new world of learning. The sights of the bookshelves, peaceful environment and soft sounds of pages turning show your girl the value of physical book reading, the library community and maintenance of literature. Signing up for a card also gives your girl a sense of ownership and responsibility for this new experience and all that goes into loaning books.  
  3. Donate once-loved books – Retiring a once-loved book is a bittersweet action. Just like boxing up an old beloved teddy bear, this step can be a little emotionally daunting. To identify what books to donate, after you finish a book with your girl, slide the book back onto the shelf with the spine facing inward. After one year (or two, if you are a softie), pull those books out and chat with your girl about sharing the love with other kids in your community. From there, contact a local nonprofit, such as the United Way, and schedule a drop-off with your girl! 
  4. Create a book exchange with family and friends – Ready to connect with family and friends in a unique and stimulating way that doesn’t involve technology? Host a book exchange! First, create hand-made invitations for the exchange event with your girl. This step will teach her letter writing and how to send something in the mail. Once that step is complete, plan out the event, begin preparing and select 2-3 books for the exchange! Lastly, gather together (or schedule one-on-one time) with your exchange buddies and let the sharing begin! 
  5. Schedule reading time – Scheduling a specific time for any task is key to achieving high success rates of completion. Mindlessly plopping on the couch and scrolling through Netflix without any regard of time is simple and familiar, but not a great way of connecting with your girl. On certain days of the week, plan (at least one week out) a few windows of time for designated reading. Accountability here is important, as is creating a comfortable and soothing space to share. If you can link the reading time to another activity, that is also a fun way to make it an event. An example of that angle could be, “Next Thursday, why don’t we grab ice cream cones before reading time?” or “Sunday morning after we walk the dog, let’s spend an hour at the library!” 
  6. Plan themed book nights – Whether you tie it to a genre, movie, feeling or holiday, themed book nights are fantastic for linking reading to something else your girl enjoys. See what type of book genre is her favorite and plan around that. Does she love Halloween? Plan for reading nights centered on spooky stories! Does she want to start watching the Harry Potter films? Read the books ahead of time together and discuss before hitting play on the movie! Setting a theme that you each enjoy will strengthen your bond, establish common ground and keep both of you happy and engaged. 

The main thing to keep in mind throughout all of these activities is that this should not feel like homework. A girl is much more likely to pick up a book if she has a genuine interest in the subject matter. Encourage her to find something that aligns with her passions, extracurricular activities or dreams. Pay attention to these subjects and joy-sparkers and surprise her with books that keep the flame alive. Tell her what you like now, what you read at her age, and compare your interests. Simply by starting the conversation and creating a space to share with her, you open a new chapter of connectedness with your girl. Isn’t that the best story of all? Happy reading and happy National Family Literacy Month!  

Connect your girl to other mind-opening opportunities like Girls on the Run! Find a council near you to get started today. 

Three GOTR girls in yellow shirts holding a hand-made starpower sign.