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Whistler-area events aim to raise literary awareness

Family Literacy Week January 20-26



Buy a latte, play Scrabble, take in a free breakfast – all Sea to Sky events to support Family Literacy Week, Jan. 22-28.

The week starts off a little early with Starbucks second annual Lattes for Literacy day Thursday, Jan. 19. Proceeds of all lattes sold will be donated to two national literacy foundations. Last year Starbucks donated $1 from each latte sold for a total of $79,000 nation wide, but this year the Seattle-based coffee company will donate 100 per cent of all latte sales to ABC Canada Literacy Foundation and Frontier College. The college is a 100-year-old nation-wide group of volunteers who work in communities with children and adults to increase their reading abilities. Two of the three Whistler Starbucks outlets will take part in the fundraiser.

Scrabble is the word of the day at Whistler Library Wednesday, Jan. 25. Friends of the Library will host a Scrabble tournament between 4 and 7 p.m. A $5 fee will go towards purchasing items for patrons’ use. Last year funds raised from the tournament went toward new computer keypad controls and a monitor. No pre-registration is required and refreshments will be served. Winners will continue to a regional round on Sunday, Jan. 29 at the Squamish Public Library.

Squamish will also host a free breakfast of champions on Friday, Jan. 27, 8—10 a.m. Adult educator Judy Rose will talk about her work in isolated communities near Lillooet Lake. Two librarians and a local literacy program co-ordinator will also talk about Squamish area projects.

Family Literacy Week is sponsored by Literacy B.C., a 15-year-old network of individuals and groups dedicated to promoting literacy and learning in B.C. In addition to lectures at UBC directed at professionals, Literacy B.C. has family events planned for the Central Library on West Georgia Street in Vancouver. Children’s authors Trevor Lai and David Ward will sign copies of their books Saturday, Jan. 28 between 1 and 3 p.m. Craft booths will be set up and refreshments will be served.

Frontier College, a nation-wide literacy distance education school, estimates that 42 per cent of adult Canadians have trouble with every day tasks that involve reading. The college has 100 volunteers in Vancouver. This past year they organized summer writing camps for 10-12 year-olds that focused on creative writing projects and field trips to Storeyum, a Vancouver interactive historical facility.

According to Statistics Canada there is a direct correlation between literacy and a country’s gross domestic product. A one per cent increase in average literary scores is associated with an eventual 2.5 per cent rise in labour productivity, StatsCan reported in June, 2004.

Whistler Public Library director Joan Richoz says that although Whistler has a higher than average university-educated population it is always a good idea to introduce books early to the next generation of readers. "You can start reading to babies at any time – as soon as they come home from the hospital," she said.