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Promoting literacy with pop culture

A member of Calgary's Badlands Garrison 501st Legion met some young Star Wars fans during a previous Star Wars Reads Day at Airdrie Public Library. This year's event is taking place Oct. 5. File Photo/Rocky View Publishing

Airdrie families will be able to “use the force” of Star Wars to encourage literacy in their kids at this year’s Star Wars Reads Day Oct. 5 at Airdrie Public Library (APL).

“We’re going to be having activities with people they recognize in topics they understand to build that connection of reading through a shared medium that they already enjoy,” said Eric Pottie, APL’s manager of Programming and Customer Engagement. “A lot of parents and adults have grown up on Star Wars, so they’re keen on it, as well.”

According to Pottie, involving the entire family in a literacy program is a valuable opportunity for parents to share and connect with their children – while helping kids develop the habit of reading from a young age.

“For little kids, if they see that the parent is involved and the parent really enjoys it, it really forms that bond,” he said. “It’s something that we do together, and they sort of see that this is important, this is part of my life.”

Children who become engaged in tactile literacy and in their own learning are more likely to continue reading as they get older, Pottie added – and events like Star Wars Reads Day help to create the foundation for them to build those developmental pathways.

“If we get you into reading now, as a kid…into adulthood, you’re always more likely to be reading and to be hitting those academic parts of your brain and thinking and processing throughout your life,” he said. “And we’re all about this.”

The annual event has been hosted at APL for the past several years, but according to Pottie, Star Wars Reads Day is celebrated internationally on the first Saturday in October – giving Star Wars fans and book lovers around the world the chance to combine two of their favourite things in a variety of ways.

This year’s event kicks off at 10 a.m. and runs until 2 p.m., and will feature a wide range of activities including puppet-making, a scavenger hunt around the library, LEGO crafts, storytime with Princess Leia, a space-themed photo booth and a number of draws for prizes that will appeal to kids of all ages. The library will also be hosting several stormtroopers – members of the 501st Legion Badlands Garrison of Vader’s Fist.

“We do have a dedicated group of people who come to everything we do at the library, but there are also kids out there who aren’t reading a lot, and they love Star Wars,” Pottie said. “When we do an event that’s Star-Wars-themed, we can get in those people who maybe aren’t already coming to the library on their own.”

Those people, he added, might check out some materials and come back three weeks later to return them – and then, they might decide to check out something else.

“We love all the people that come to the library,” he said, “but it’s a base that can always grow – we’re always looking to get more and more people to come to the library.”


Jessi Gowan

About the Author: Jessi Gowan

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