Literacy - A Worldwide Need: Literacy is an international problem. that's the conclusion of the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) released by Statistics Canada in December. Countries surveyed included Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States, with Sweden showing the highest literacy levels and all other countries, except for Poland, with relatively similar literacy levels. The IALS survey also showed strong links among literacy skills, employment and occupational status, and income. The bottom line? Literacy is a serious problem in all counties surveyed.
How did we fare? The study indicated that four out of every 10 adults possess reading skills that limit their ability to deal with much of the written material they encounter every day. More extensive Canadian data will be released in the Spring. That report will also include results from the provinces and a comparison of the IALS results with those from Stats Canada's 1989 survey of Literacy Skills Used in Daily Activities (LSUDA). Watch for results in our next newsletter.
Celebrating a Milestone: It's 25 years since the first Laubach Literacy Council of Canada was formed in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. That was cause for celebration at Laubach Literacy of Canada and celebrate they did!
Giving and Winning: Rural Ontarians give generously of their tome to literacy programs--in fact, more than four times the contribution of urban volunteers. A 1995 report produces by Ontario Rural Literacy of the Ontario Literacy Coalition reports that rural programs in Ontario have volunteers who work an average of 48 hours per week compared to urban programs with volunteers working an average of 10.5 hours per week. Kudos to rural Ontario!
Tournament Gold for Literacy: The PGI Golf Tournaments are still going strong, last year adding more than $600 000 to the more than $ 4 million already raised for Canadian literacy groups since 1986. It's a fund raising success story largely due to endorsement, support, and promotion by renowned broadcaster and author Peter Gzowski.
Getting It Together: Collecting information on current Canadian literacy programs and services is the job of an Ontario firm as a result of a contract awarded from the National Literacy Secretariat. Once completed, "Words That Matter", will be available for circulation and through NALD's database.
Through Sleet and Hail: Just getting to a meeting is no mean feat for the treasurer of the NWT coalition who has to travel two time zones to join colleagues at the board table.
Literacy in Cyberspace: A recently released report prepared by E. Kane & Associates for the National Literacy Secretariat calls on the organization to lead the entire literacy community--practitioners and learners alike--onto the information highway.
News from Inside: In Newfoundland, Clarenville inmates broke new ground when they published the firstever newsletter produced by inmates. The title? "Pen Pals," of course.
Going for Gold: New Brunswick's innovative literacy program garnered yet another in a long list of awards when the province's Community Academic Services Program (CASP) won the International Reading Association (IRA) Literacy Award for 1995. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization ((UNESCO) presented the annual award celebrating International Literacy Day in Beijing, China last September. The IRA also included two honorable mentions for the 1995 awards: the National Centre Literacy Project for Women and Girls in Algeria and the Waiskere Adult Literacy Centre in New Zealand.
Healthy Reading: "Plain Facts," a newsletter distributed by the CANADIAN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION (CPHA) is aimed at helping health professionals become more aware of the links between literacy and health. As well, the newsletter will offer resources to help health professionals better serve people with low literacy skills.