Children begin to develop oral language and literacy skills soon after birth. Support for literacy in the home is one of the strongest predictors of a child’s success in developing strong language and literacy skills. Storytelling, reading, talking, and just spending time with a child are all activities that foster literacy development. For working parents, a high quality childcare facility can foster rich language development and can create an environment that will encourage the development of emergent literacy skills. Emergent literacy skills are strongly related to reading and later academic success.
Literacy skill development can start at any point in life. Those individuals that, for whatever reason, did not attain highly developed literacy skills may find that access to high quality literacy programs and services can make a difference.
There are many reasons why adults have not developed a solid literacy foundation such as:
“It’s very important to note that people with low literacy skills are not the “problem”. They are workers, parents, and community members, doing the best they can with the resources and opportunities available to them. We have a lot to learn from people who navigate the world without the literacy foundation that others take for granted.”
Movement for Canadian Literacy
Many Nunavummiut have poor linguistic skills and subsequently poor literacy skills. Students with poor linguistic and literacy skills find it difficult, if not impossible to make it through high school. This lack of skills then follows them into the workplace where they struggle to cope with the skills needed to function as an effective employee. As Professor Ian Martin said in his report Aajjiqatigiingniq, the current school system is fundamentally flawed. Many students are ending up semi-literate - that is without fluency and literacy skills in either Inuktitut or English.
To maintain literacy skills people must use them continuously or the skills may lessen. Graduating from high school does not guarantee that an individual will always have high literacy skills. Those skills can be lost if he or she works in a job where they are not used or if the individual does not use the skills at home.