The Saskatchewan Literacy Network is celebrating Raise-a-Reader Day by embracing digital literacy. Today, the SLN is releasing the photo series Living What We Learn on its newly redesigned website. The photo series will also be shared on Facebook and Twitter to encourage the public to consider different forms of learning for families.

The Living What We Learn photo series reflects the donated time of a dozen local businesses dedicated to promoting family literacy. Three photos showcase forms of families learning together: Through an e-book and website, a graphic novel and a children’s book. The photo series will be shared online with the intention of sparking awareness of an emerging form of literacy – digital literacy.

“As our society moves toward using computers and digital technology in daily life, it is important for families to learn to use technology together. Just as books can be used for parents and children to interact and learn together, a computer game, a website, social media or an e-book can have similar applications,” Lisa Erickson of the SLN said.

Wapos Bay, the Gemini Award-winning children’s show, was the focus of one of the photos. Its website, www.waposbay.com, has interactive games and e-books that encourage families to learn together. Naidu Photography‘s photo of Bobby Henry from the Saskatchewan Aboriginal Literacy Network depicts the way we can interact with e-books – just like a regular children’s book, we can fall into the story in our imaginations. Henry is wearing clothing donated by Mint Fashion Co, another supporter of literacy.

More traditional forms of literacy are depicted in the picture of Jennilee Cardinal-Schultz of Chop Chop Hair Salon. The photographer, Vanessa Neufeld, captured an imaginary scene inspired by a children’s book: The mother and daughter are living what they are learning from the story. The beautiful image is enhanced by a puppet dragon contributed by Wide Open Theatre and dresses designed by Chelsey Gruza.

The third photo depicts a less-recognized medium for reading – the power of the graphic novel. Kevin Greggain captured local producer Katrina German reading a graphic novel within a comic book setting.

All pictures are shared on the SLN’s website (www.sk.literacy.ca) and its Facebook page. People are encouraged to share the pictures on Twitter and Facebook to show their support for literacy and Raise-a-Reader.

HOW DO YOU RAISE-A-READER?

Just as technology has changed the face of communicating, it is also changing the way people learn and practise their literacy skills.

Today volunteers, literacy organizations, local businesses and the general public are encouraged to answer the question: “How do you raise a reader?” Through Twitter, the addition of the hashtag #RAR to the end of a tweet will start a conversation about literacy that will span across Canada.

“Twitter is a new way to share ideas and we want to share the Raise-a-Reader campaign with as many people as possible,” Erickson said.

Saskatoon Twitterer @katrinavision notes that “if every person adds the hashtag #RAR to their tweet, we should be able to get a very cool list of the ways that Canadians are interacting and learning with their kids.”

Leaders in social media, such as Darren Sproat (@ DarrenSproat) of Regina, who manages 40,000-plus Twitter followers and the popular blog Then Life Happens (http: //www.then lifehappens.com/), will be tweeting and blogging along with @katrinavision and several hundreds of volunteers across Canada.

Providing newspapers for a donation has long been the pillar of the Raise-a-Reader campaign. The 2011 social media Twitter campaign for Literacy will augment this time-honoured practice by offering volunteers and those interested in supporting literacy one more way to become involved. The social media campaign will promote online donations by sending Twitter followers to the main donation site at www.canada.com.

RAISING FUNDS FOR LITERACY

This special-edition of The StarPhoenix helps raise donations to Raise-a-Reader.

Raise-a-Reader raises money for northern Saskatchewan literacy and education organizations to help children get a good start in reading

Twenty-seven newspapers across Canada participate in Raise-a-Reader, raising $17 million for literacy programs since its launch in 2002.

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