14 Dec 2016

‘Ball starts with B'

“Reading is a pretty huge part of our daily routine.”

When it is bedtime for three-year-old Naomi, both Nabila Akand and her husband James Cardnell take turns reading her bedtime stories.

 “She’s really into dinosaurs right now,” says Nabila, “so our evenings are spent reading and talking about all the different kinds of dinosaurs and creatures in her books.”

Nabila has always recognized the importance of helping her daughter learn at home. When Naomi was still very little, Nabila saw an ad on a Facebook group for local moms about a READ Saskatoon Family Literacy program, and thought it would be a good opportunity to get out into the community.

“Naomi was a little hesitant at first,” Nabila admit. “At that point she hadn’t spent a lot of time with other kids, and she was still pretty attached to her mom!”

But once Naomi warmed up to the experience, it became something the mother and daughter enjoyed doing together.

“It was a really great experience for both of us,” says Nabila. “It gave her a chance to play with kids of different ages, and gave me the chance to spend time with other parents. It’s something special that the two of us could do together outside of the house.”

As Naomi grows, Nabila is amazed by how perceptive and interested she is in learning and following her curiosities.

“When she’s interested in something, she asks a lot of questions!” says Nabila. “We do our best to read books and find educational videos online that we can watch together and talk to her about.”

Naomi loves to sing the ABC song, and has begun learning to spell simple words. Her parents enjoy playing spelling games with her, and challenging her to explore letters and sounds.

“We played this game where we’d ask her what letter a word started with,” says Nabila. “Now, she often plays the game when she’s playing on her own. She will say ‘ball starts with b, cat starts with c.’ It’s fun to listen to her explore language in this way!”

Nabila understand just how important her role as her daughter’s first teacher is. She recognizes the importance of playing together and having conversations about what has happened during the day.

“Learning starts at home!” says Nabila. “The learning that happens in your own house isn’t structured, but it encourages kids to explore and be curious about the world around them.”

Nabila is grateful for the support she and Naomi receive through READ Saskatoon programs. She finds the specific examples and take-home tools incredibly useful.

“These programs are so great for parents and children,” she says. “For parents to find support, discover new tools, and just to spend time with other parents from different backgrounds. It’s just so important!”

“And I can’t believe these programs are free!” Nabila adds.

Nabila is thankful for READ’s Family Literacy programs, but also extends her gratitude to those in the community who volunteer and donate to make these programs possible.

“Thank you for putting families and their children first,” says Nabila. “By choosing to invest in our children, you are truly investing in the future of our community and our world!”

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