There’s more to learn from the Olympics than simply practicing your sports skills. The Olympics also provide an opportunity to buff up on basic literacy skills.
ABC Canada offers the following tips and activity ideas for each of the 17 days of Olympics events.
1. Find out where the Olympic torch has travelled by looking at a map. You can practice your numeracy skills by calculating the distance travelled.
2. Write a note of congratulations and send it to your favourite Canadian athlete.
3. Keep track of the number of gold, silver and bronze medals won by Canadian athletes in a spreadsheet to improve numeracy and computer literacy skills.
4. Find out more about Vancouver, the host city of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Read about popular tourist attractions like the Rocky Mountains.
5. Read about interesting Olympic sports, such as bobsledding and skeleton.
6. Sing the Canadian national anthem to cheer on the teams.
7. Record all of the 2010 Olympic firsts.
8. Research information about your favourite athlete: Find out where they grew up, how they train, what their favourite food is, etc.
9. In celebration of the Winter Olympics, invite friends and family to take part in your own Olympics competition – why not hold Math Olympics!
10. Collect Olympic commemorative coins and add up your total.
11. Write trivia inspired by the Olympics, for example: Clara Hughes is the only Canadian athlete to win a medal at both the Summer and Winter Olympics
12. Learn the history of the Olympics: origins, past and future host cities and then locate these host cities on a map.
13. During timed events, calculate the difference between the top athletes’ performances to improve numeracy.
14. Identify all of the colours of the Olympic rings and match each to the flag of a participating country.
15. Find out your family’s heritage and follow the progress of your ancestors’ native countries.
16. Pick a sport that you are least familiar with and read up on its rules.
17. Spell the name of one participating country that starts with each letter of the alphabet.
Ashley Tilley, Communications Co-ordinator for ABC Canada, says “The purpose of doing these exercises is to show that literacy is fun, and it encourages reading and writing. It provides an opportunity for kids to do something that interests them, while building skills at the same time.”
Monica De, Community Literacy Co-ordinator for the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy says there are many ways children can improve their skills because there are many different types of learning; physical, emotional, social, language and cognitive, and communications skills and general knowledge.