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All about tech
This year's NWT Literacy Week aims to help young and old navigate a changing world

Robin Grant
Northern News Services
Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Literacy isn't just about reading books, it's about knowing how to navigate a changing world.

NNSL photo/graphic

Mixed breed Flor, left, her owner Kathleen Roberts and Jaedenz White, 9, read a book during the public library's TAILS program open house Sept. 17. The annual NWT Literacy Week is taking place in Yellowknife and across the NWT this week. It will address the positive and negative aspects of technology. - Robin Grant/NNSL photo

This is why the theme of the 2016 NWT Literacy Week, which started Sunday and runs through Oct. 1, is called Tied to Tech: Exploring our relationship with technology, which started Sunday and runs through Oct. 1.

"The aim is to open up the conversation about technology with (people in the community) to ensure they are using technology safely and appropriately," said NWT Literacy Council executive director Kathryn Barry Paddock.

All week, council is holding activities exploring the positive and negative aspects of technology, including a technology-free Family Literacy Pajama Jam on Friday evening for children ages two to eight at Northern United Place.

During the Pajama Jam, attending families will take part in non-technology related activities, such as crafts, games, book giveaways, music, face painting - and of course, reading. The Literacy Outreach Centre is providing the face painting activity during the Pajama Jam and co-ordinator Xiao Yi said she hopes parents learn important lessons about how technology impacts their children's brain.

"Nowadays, more and more kids are spending more time looking at screens," Yi said. "It's important to be aware of how much time your kids are spending in front of screens because it affects their quality of sleep."

On Thursday, in conjunction with the Yellowknife International Film Festival, the NWT Literacy Council is hosting a screening of the documentary Screenagers at the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre.

The documentary "probes into the vulnerable corners of family life, including the director's own, and depicts messy struggles over social media, video games, academics and Internet addiction," according to the film's website.

Public services librarian John Mutford said it is important to support events such as Literacy Week because reading enriches people's lives.

"Reading, of course, helps people cope with their day-to-day lives," he said. "It also helps people become empathetic and understanding of others."

The 2016 Ministerial Literacy Awards were also announced yesterday afternoon at Northern United Place.

Cathy James-Culter, a teacher with St. Joseph School, won in the Professional Educator Category. Lanely Beaulieu from Fort Resolution won the Youth Literacy Award, and Archie Laroche won this year's Council of the Federation Award.

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