How This Book Came to Be
THIS BOOK arose out of the ongoing work of the Literacy Committee of the CCLOW Board. In 1990 the Literacy Committee launched a project to search for Canadian women-positive literacy material and the publication Telling Our Stories Our Way: A Guide to Good Canadian Material for Women Learning to Read highlighted what they found.
Two projects which followed focused on women's experience in literacy programs - women who were learners, instructors, tutors and administrators of those programs. In Discovering the Strength of Our Voices: Women and Literacy Programs (1991) Betty-Ann Lloyd reported on her research into the effects of gender on women's experiences in literacy programs. Following this report, further research was carried out to explore the question, "What happens when literacy programs undertake woman-positive activities?" Across the country, women planned and carried out women-positive activities at the local level and documented the results. They formed women-only discussion and support groups; they organized learners to do a house-to-house survey to talk to other women about their needs; they produced reading material by and about women learners. The Power of Woman-Positive Literacy Work, by Betty-Ann Lloyd, Frances Ennis and Tannis Atkinson (1994) documents the results of those activities.
Two themes arose from that study that are directly relevant to the present project. One was a call from participants for curriculum material that would address the issues of women's lives. This book is a direct response to that call.
The other theme was the pervasiveness and magnitude of violence against women. The violence and the threat of violence that women face daily affect learners' ability to take part in literacy programs, and affect instructors' and tutors' personal lives as well as their ability to work in literacy programs. You will find that theme recurring throughout this book, as well as celebrations of the strengths and joys of women's lives.
The Curriculum Project
Women were asked to submit examples of curriculum or lesson plans that they had written. Thirty-eight women responded, and of these, fifteen were chosen to take part in the project.