Submitted by Leonne Beebe,
Community Literacy Co-ordinator
Can you understand when someone speaks to you? Can you say what you need to say? Can you read and write English easily? For many Canadians, the answer is maybe or no. Nearly 40 per cent of B.C. adults have difficulty reading a newspaper, filling out forms, asking for information, or understanding what they are told.
On Sept. 8, you are invited to wear something purple to show you are joining in our communities’ celebration of literacy. Think about who you can read a book with or to, who you want to write a letter to, who you want to have a conversation with about literacy.
Celebrating literacy successes and raising awareness and concern for literacy issues and problems is the focus of September as BC’s Literacy Month, and Sept. 8 as International Literacy Day. First mandated on Sept. 8, 1966, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Culture Organization (UNESCO), International Literacy Day promotes this day as an opportunity for communities around the world to celebrate and share the importance of literacy with each other.
The FVR Library will be celebrating with a drop-in activity specially designed to celebrate worldwide literacy. Throughout the day, people are invited to come in to the library and write messages on pre-addressed postcards, which will be sent to other libraries around the world.
Seabird Island Community School is planning to celebrate both International and Indigenous Literacy Day by starting their morning with a shared reading program for their students involving cross-age and cross-grade reading partners, followed by their traditional Sto:lo Halq’eméylem language classes.
Literacy is important to all citizens, immigrants and refugees in Canada because it impacts every area of modern life: healthcare, civic engagement, education, employment and the economy. While the majority of residents have adequate literacy skills – too many simply do not. To find out more about literacy resources in our community, contact the Agassiz-Harrison Community Services or the FVR Library.