An Early Start to Literacy Unlocks many Opportunities - Dave Salagubas
The Salagubas household is hopping.
With two children under the age of 3, Dave and Ashley are busy parents.
“No day is typical. Both children are at different stages, but require full attention. It is chaos – for now. We have busy schedules, but manage to spend time playing and visiting families/friends.”
Dave works a fast-paced job as a Human Resource Analyst at SaskEnergy, which finds him training and working alongside SaskEnergy employees to ensure they receive up-to-date and high quality learning opportunities on the job. Ashley has just returned to her position as a registered nurse at Royal University Hospital after a year on maternity leave. Despite their incredibly demanding day jobs, Dave and Ashley are deeply committed to making their home an inspiring place for their children to learn.
“Our parents both taught us excellent literacy skills and an appreciation of the benefits that come with it. It is important for success and becoming independent, so we want to pass these skills on to our children to give them the best chance for success. We also enjoy the moments that come with reading with our kids and helping them develop. It is rewarding to see them apply things they have learned.”
Literacy is embedded into everything they do with their children – from typical activities like reading books at bedtime or singing songs, through to getting out to the library on a regular basis and incorporating literacy into daily routine.
“We make literacy a part of the simple things we do. For example, counting crayons before putting them away, and naming the colour.”
Not enough fire to cook a meatball.
Dave notices how much these everyday activities have a deep and lasting effect on their children. His son Warren is quick to point out when they miss a part of a bedtime story. Dave is also really impressed when his young son makes inferences from the books they read and apply them to everyday life.
“One time when something was not as warm as it should have been, Warren said ‘not enough fire to cook a meatball!’ This is a line from The Paperbag Princess, one of our favourite books to read together.”
Their children both love bedtime, and Warren gets excited when he gets to pick out which books to read.
“He often tries to trick us into reading more books to prolong bedtime!” Dave laughs.
A perfect fit
On top of being busy parents and professionals, Dave and Ashley are both heavily involved in the community. Both are involved in sports and community clubs, as well as volunteer at a variety of local organizations. Dave met READ Saskatoon staff during one of his many community gigs, and recognized it would be a great fit for him.
“I was looking for an opportunity to learn new skills and build my network, plus I wanted to offer my time to a worthwhile cause. I looked into the work of READ Saskatoon, and soon realized it was a perfect place for me to volunteer. Not long after, I was encouraged to also volunteer as a tutor. I was intimidated at first, but again realized it would be a great way to step out of my comfort zone and grow as a person, while helping someone develop their skills as well – it was win-win!”
Dave recognized quickly the importance of READ Saskatoon’s work. “Through hearing stories from tutors and learners, I had a feeling of pride to be contributing to such a great cause. With a common focus from the board and staff, no egotistical motives involved. Only genuine care to serve the community!”
Inclusive learning for all
Dave was struck by the simple yet all-inclusive role that literacy plays in our community. He is a huge believer in the power of literacy in benefiting all aspects of society - from earning enough income to support themselves and a family, to making home a great learning environment, and having the skills to make the community a better place. Having organizations that focus on inclusive learning for all is paramount to a community’s success.
“READ Saskatoon is a very inclusive organization. It does not discriminate,” says Dave. “It supports a cause where results can be seen and proven, and the success is evident.”
This is Dave’s biggest piece of advice to families and parents. He also encourages others to use resources available. Resources like READ Saskatoon’s family and adult literacy programs, programs through the public library, and simply getting involved at home from an early age is encouragement for families of all shapes and sizes.
“Literacy is fun. It encourages imagination and creativity, as well as provides life lessons,” says Dave. “Literacy is not something to be taken for granted. Literacy unlocks so many opportunities!”