TORONTO, March 07, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today, The Canadian Children’s Literacy Foundation launched Lost & Found: A Digital Exhibit of Kids’ Pandemic Stories, a public online gallery featuring a selection of stories from the 5,000 children across Canada participating in Lost & Found story-making workshops. The exhibition features curated stories of children, told through drawing, writing, poetry and video, about their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For children and their families, the pandemic has been a struggle. Lockdown measures and their knock-on effects have affected children’s mental and physical health, educational attainment, and connections to community. The Lost & Found initiative is part of the Canadian Children’s Literacy Foundation’s efforts to help address the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children’s development. The stories will be archived to help future generations understand the impact of the pandemic on Canada’s children.
Prior to the pandemic, more than one million children in Canada (about one in eight) were estimated to have below grade-level reading skills. The situation has become more dire with recent data showing that 30% per cent of six-year-old children are at risk of not meeting grade level reading benchmarks,1 with that percentage jumping to 40% for children in low income households.2
Lost & Found is a national storytelling initiative, led by the Canadian Children’s Literacy Foundation in collaboration with a diverse coalition of mental health and child-serving organizations. By expressing themselves using stories, children and families are building their literacy skills, developing an understanding of the power of their words, and forging stronger connections to their communities.
Through interactive workshops led by educators, kids aged 0 to 12 and their families explored their pandemic experiences through writing, art, movement, and oral story-making. Educators are continuing to offer free workshops available to kids and families across the country in Spring 2023. The workshop toolkits are free for educators to download, and available in seven languages, including English, French, Arabic, Ojibway, Cree, Inuinnaqtun and Inuktitut. Educators and/or parents can continue to submit the kids’ creations to the online public gallery.
“Literacy skills — built through reading, storytelling, singing, and even talking — are fundamental to a child’s social-emotional and academic development. Yet, too many children in Canada currently lack the literacy skills they need to thrive,” said Ariel Siller, Canadian Children’s Literacy Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer. “Together through this Lost & Found initiative, we’re enabling children to strengthen their literacy skills, process the emotional challenges they experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, and build community through sharing their stories.”
“Lost & Found demonstrates our commitment to children’s literacy and offers avenues for creative self-expression that help strengthen perseverance,” said the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Pablo Rodriguez. “The exhibition shows Canadian children’s perspectives on a major event in the history of our country and the world, and offers an opportunity to reflect on how working together can develop essential life skills and enrich our communities.”
“Storytelling is necessary for developing literacy skills and is a way to build connections between people, teach the value of listening, and to remind ourselves that everyone’s story matters,” said Col. Chris Hadfield, children’s author, retired astronaut and Canadian Children’s Literacy Foundation board member.
The Lost & Found project has been made possible by the Government of Canada’s Celebration and Commemoration program.
About The Canadian Children’s Literacy Foundation
Founded in 2017, the Canadian Children’s Literacy Foundation works collaboratively to build a brighter, more literate future for children in Canada. We develop and promote evidence-based early literacy initiatives, champion literacy partners, and empower people to help children build literacy skills in their homes and communities. By leveraging the skills, passion, and capacity of families, professionals, and other child-serving organizations, we’re helping children throughout Canada to develop the literacy skills they need to reach their full potential. To enable more equitable access to educational opportunity, the Canadian Children’s Literacy Foundation delivers solutions that expand access to early literacy and drives systemic changes in how children are supported on their reading journey. All our work is informed by best-in-class research on how to raise readers in a multilingual, multicultural Canada.
The Canadian Children’s Literacy Foundation’s programs rely on the generosity of donors. To learn more about the Foundation’s programs and make a donation, visit childrensliteracy.ca.
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