A “Hug” for Family Literacy

Every year in March I have the pleasure of doing a presentation for students in the Library and Information Studies program at the University of Alberta.  Dr. Margaret Mackey brings her students to the Centre for Family Literacy to help provide a real, practical connection for all the theory her class has been learning.

I am very passionate about family literacy and this type of situation – where a solid link can be made between the student’s learning and our practical experience – it provides an amazing opportunity to raise awareness and get others excited about it too.

During this year’s presentation, I talked specifically about a book called “Hug” by Jez Alborough.  It is mainly a picture book with just a few words, the most significant being the word “hug”.  The amount of words allow this book to be shared by a family in many different ways – in their own language, making up a story to go with the pictures, acting out the hugs and emotions together.  It is a wonderful and versatile book.

I have a fondness for this book in that it was one I shared with my children.  My son and I read this book together many times and I remember one day he was showing it to his sister.  He got so excited and came up to me afterwards to show me how he had “read” the book to his sister. He was three years old, but he knew what that book said and how it sounded. It was a proud day for him and for me.

Today, I received a thank you card from the students at my presentation. Inside were some amazing comments of thanks and excitement about what they had learned with me. The power of family literacy in helping adults who struggle with literacy was evident and they had seen the passion and care with which we work. The seed of knowledge about family literacy was planted within their learning and awareness was built.

Within all these wonderful comments, one stood out a little. One of the students had gone out and bought the book “Hug” after hearing my story for her new niece. I hope she is able to get as much out of it as I have!