Going out for dinner with the kids? Grab a book

Reading boxes at local shops and restaurants promote literacy in the Tri-Cities

Parents with restless children in tow now have something more than iPads and cellphone apps to keep their kids busy when visiting Tri-City businesses.

Thanks to an initiative of the Tri-Cities Literacy Committee, reading boxes for books are being made available to businesses interested in making their restaurants or offices more family-friendly.

“It supports literacy,” explained Ann Johannes, Tri-Cities Literacy Outreach coordinator.

She said her group is trying to promote less screen time and more reading time for children as evidence has found that the more children read or are read to, the more confident readers they become.

Restaurants are a perfect spot for these colorful boxes painted by local children and Ayrien Setiaputra, manager of Taco Del Mar in Port Coquitlam, says her shop’s reading box is well-loved.

Some of the letters to the world “library” are missing and families sometimes take books to read at home and bring new ones back.

“You unplug and connect with your family while waiting for your food,” said Setiaputra, who is also a member of the Family Friendly Business Working Group of the region’s Early Childhood Development Committee.

Since having a son, Setiaputra is much more attuned to family needs and hosts family nights where kids can do games and crafts. She also said she loves to promote family time and the reading box fits in with that goal.

“If you make the family welcome, they are more likely to come back,” she said.

More reading boxes for businesses are available. To find out how to acquire one, contact the Tri-Cities Literacy Committee at tricitiesliteracy@gmail.com or by phone at 604-726-2745. There is also a website at www.tricitiesliteracy.ca.

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