Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy community literacy coordinators from across the Kootenay at a recent gathering.

Literacy planning is a community event in the Kootenay

The ability to answer these questions hinges on one thing: literacy skills.

Today we are surrounded by information. It is everywhere, and in many different forms. We use literacy skills constantly as we check our email, shop for groceries, pay our bills, read the news, and many other daily tasks.

Not only must we be able to interpret the written word, we need the skills to evaluate this information. What does the food label “light” really mean? When is an email from a stranger legitimate, and when is it spam? How do interest rates really affect me as a consumer?

The ability to answer these questions hinges on one thing: literacy skills.

“Literacy skills impact our lives and communities in ways that might surprise you,” said Ali Wassing, Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy executive director. “Studies show a strong correlation between high literacy levels, good health and low unemployment. Ultimately, a community is more resilient when its citizens have strong literacy skills.”

Since 2003, community literacy organizations throughout BC, such as the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy, have had provincial support to develop community literacy planning committees. They discuss, plan and take action on literacy development for all ages and all needs.

Decoda Community Literacy Planning Guide says: “It is in communities themselves that literacy is practiced and sustained. Therefore, community engagement is essential to creating an environment in which literacy programs can be successful.”

In 2007, the province asked boards of education to be more actively involved. They are now responsible for submitting district literacy plans to the Ministry of Education. This comprehensive, annual document combines community literacy plans into one document for each school district.

Community members representing public health, school districts, colleges, municipalities, chambers of commerce, early childhood development teams, libraries, community services, employment agencies and many others come together as community literacy planning committees to discuss local needs.

“Interesting partnerships develop and important resources are shared at these community planning meetings,” said Betty Knight, Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy regional program manager, East Kootenay. “Everyone benefits.”

Books for Babies, Luv to Learn, Parents as Literacy Supporters, Parents Reading, Children Succeeding, One-to-One Reading, Young Parents Education Program, Seniors Computers and English Conversation groups are just a few of the programs introduced through the community planning process.

As awareness grows around health and financial literacy, and of how many aspects of daily life are impacted by literacy, the need for these community collaborations becomes more important.

This year, the community literacy planning committees are opening their doors wider, hosting open discussions about literacy service gaps, assets and possible solutions.

“We hope these meetings will draw more community members into a broader discussion of literacy and lifelong, life-wide learning,” said Desneiges Profili, Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy regional program manager, West Kootenay. “Everyone should be involved in literacy planning, because literacy affects everyone.”

If you are interested in being a part of your community literacy planning process, visit cbal.org and contact your community literacy coordinator.

Please support the Black Press and Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy Reach-A-Reader campaign on Wednesday, October 10 in Nelson. The funds you donate when you buy a paper will go toward local literacy programs, and community literacy planning. Your donation will change your community.

 

Just Posted

Smoky skies force flight cancellations

Air quality in West Kootenay also a health concern

Castlegar bridge designed by architect of collapsed Italian bridge

Riccardo Morandi designed the Kinnaird Bridge, which is part of Highway 3.

Columbia River Treaty negotiators met in Nelson this week

Next session is in Portland in October

UPDATE: Fire forces closures and delays on Highway 3 at Kootenay Pass

Motorists should detour using Kootenay Lake ferry

Evacuation alert issued for City of Kimberley

Three hours after an evacuation order was issued for the St. Mary Valley, an evacuation alert was issued for the nearby community of Kimberley.

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Safeway union urges prejection of mediator recommendations

Says mediator asks for too many concessions

Fire chases B.C. crews out of their own camp

Crews in Burns Lake had to leave after a wildfire reportedly overtook their sleeping quarters

To address peacock problem, B.C. city moves ahead on trapping plan

Surrey’s new bylaw focuses on ensuring people no longer feed the birds, ahead of relocation

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

About 1,000 Saudi residents called back to kingdom after suspending diplomatic relations with Canada

Bernier diatribe against ‘extreme multiculturalism’ boosts Liberal coffers

Party spokesperson Braeden Caley says online donations doubled, social media engagement quadrupled

‘Disjointed’ system hinders British Columbia First Nations in wildfire fight

More than 550 wildfires were burning in B.C. and crews were bracing for wind and dry lightning

Federal government announces over $115 million to Royal Canadian Navy

Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan was at Victoria’s CFB Esquimalt to announce missile system upgrades

RCMP nab prolific car thief after month-long, B.C.-wide search

A province-wide warrant was issued for Brian Robert Stephan in June for a litany of offences

Most Read