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The Big Picture - Literacy in Canada


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The Big Picture is a comprehensive overview on the state of literacy in Canada, prepared by the Canadian Literacy and Learning Network. updated in April 2012

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The Big Picture - Literacy in Canada

  1. 1. The Big PictureLiteracy in CanadaDeveloped by Chris HarwoodCanadian Literacy and Learning Network –
  2. 2. OutLiNePart 1: Literacy in CanadaPart 2: Literacy FactsPart 3: Challenges and BarriersPart 4: Canadian Literacy and Learning Network 1
  3. 3. Part ONe 1 Literacy in Canada 2
  4. 4. LiteraCy is a seriOus issue 1The International Adult Literacy and SkillsSurvey (IALSS) was released in 2005It clearly shows that millions of Canadiansstruggle with literacy challenges 3 1
  5. 5. uNesCO DeFiNitiONOF LiteraCy 1Literacy is the ability to identify, understand.interpret, create, communicate, compute and useprinted and written materials associated with varyingcontexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learningto enable an individual to achieve his or her goals, todevelop his or her knowledge and potential, and toparticipate fully in the wider society. Adopted by CLLN 4 1
  6. 6. LiteraCy aND esseNtiaL skiLLs 1HRSDC has introduced the term Essential Skills todefine the transferable skills that everyone needs tosucceed in life 4 There are 9 Essential Skills 4 Gradually people across Canada are becoming familiar with the term and its meaningEssential Skills are also a structured way of thinkingabout LiteracyLiteracy is the foundation of every Essential Skill 5 1
  7. 7. a FOuNDatiON 1Literacy and Essential Skills provide the foundation forlearning all other skills 4 They are needed for work, learning and life 4 We need them to do things in our daily lives as parents, students, workers, community members and citizens 6 1
  8. 8. sOme examPLes 14 Reading a bus schedule4 Reading the newspaper4 Using a computer4 Completing an application form4 Understanding medications and how to take them4 Voting in federal and provincial elections4 Understanding the justice system 7 1
  9. 9. WHO Has LiteraCy issues? 14 People who experienced poverty, abuse, neglect, or discrimination when young may have poor reading skills due to interrupted schooling4 Some children had undiagnosed learning disabilities and never became good readers4 Seniors with an elementary education - reading skills not at today’s standard4 Aboriginal People 8 1
  10. 10. WHO Has LiteraCy issues? 14 On average, immigrants are better educated now than in the past 4 However, many come from countries that do not have English or French as a main language4 Some immigrants 4 may be literate in first language but struggle with English or French 4 are not literate in first language and find it difficult to learn to read in a second language 9 1
  11. 11. use it Or LOse it 14 Skills need to be used to stay sharp4 Age is not important: 4 children, teens, adults and seniors can lose skills4 Skills are lost when people read less4 Instead of reading they: 4 get news from television and radio 4 get their entertainment from TV, movies, and concerts 10 1
  12. 12. LiteraCy aND esseNtiaL skiLLs 14 Essential Skills provide a common language for educators, employers and service providers4 Everyone needs Essential Skills to be able to function effectively at work, at home and in the community4 Essential Skills are adaptable to all situations4 Essential Skills help people to be more productive and to more easily learn new tasks 11 1
  13. 13. esseNtiaL skiLLs 14 Reading Text 4 Working with Others4 Document Use 4 Continuous Learning4 Numeracy 4 Thinking Skills4 Writing 4 Computer Use4 Oral CommunicationFor more on essential skills go to 12 1
  14. 14. reaDiNg text – examPLes 14 Read and understand information in written messages and reports4 Carry out written instructions4 Read job ads4 Read product warning labels 13 1
  15. 15. WritiNg – examPLes 14 Write telephone messages4 Write e-mails4 Write notes from a meeting4 Keep a “to do” list 14 1
  16. 16. LiteraCy aND HeaLtH 1We need literacy to: 4 find good health services 4 make healthy lifestyle choices 4 understand doctor’s information 4 take medication correctly 4 find and understand health and safety information 15 1
  17. 17. LiteraCy aND tHe WOrkFOrCe 1We need literacy to: 4 describe our skills and qualities 4 find jobs 4 do tasks in the workplace 4 change jobs 4 get promotions 16 1
  18. 18. LiteraCy aND tHe FamiLy 1Parents are a child’s first teacherChildren learn best with supportive families andcaregivers: 4 They follow the example of their parents / caregivers 4 They need literacy-rich homes 4 They need adults who are comfortable with the school environmentThis helps them to be more successful in school 17 1
  19. 19. LiteraCy aND esL 14 New immigrants need strong literacy skills to integrate into Canadian society4 Some immigrants are highly educated; some are not – many need support to improve their literacy skills in English4 Some immigrants have been in Canada a long time and can speak well but have literacy issues 18 1
  20. 20. esL LiteraCy LearNers 14 Less than 6 years of learning in home country4 Not able to read their home language or Have limited reading skills in home language4 Use a different alphabet4 Have 8 years of schooling but have not developed study skills 19 1
  21. 21. LiteraCy CONNeCtiONs 1 4 Justice 4 Finance 4 Consumer 4 Social Justice 4 Poverty 20 1
  22. 22. Part tWO 2 Literacy Facts 21 1
  23. 23. CLLN’s LeaDersHiP 24 14% of working age Canadian adults find everyday literacy difficult. Another 27% struggle with more complex materials4 That’s 9 million adults4 Over 7 million of them don’t identify literacy as an issue4 The number is likely to rise to 15 million over the next 20 years 22
  24. 24. LiteraCy LeveLs FOrCaNaDiaN aDuLts 2 Level 1 Level 4/5 14.6% 19.5% Level 2 27.3% Level 3 38.6% 23
  25. 25. aDuLt LiteraCy aNDLiFe skiLLs LeveLs 2Level 1 Task4 Use the label to find out how long you can take headache pills at any one timeLevel 2 Task4 Look at a magazine to find out about a plant for the garden – size, sun/shade, zoneLevel 3 Task4 Compare a movie review to see which of four was most popular 24
  26. 26. LeveL 1 FaCts 24 3.1 million adult Canadians read at this level4 1.4 million of them are immigrants4 54% are male and 46% are female4 60% employed,12% unemployed, 28% not actively seeking employment4 Education: 4 50% have less than high school 4 30% finished high school 4 20% have post-secondary education 25
  27. 27. LeveL 2 FaCts 24 5.8 million adult Canadians read at this level4 1.2 million of them are immigrants4 52% are male and 48% are female4 70% employed, 8% unemployed, 22% not actively seeking employment4 Education: 4 28% have less than high school 4 37% finished high school 4 35% have post-secondary education 26 1
  28. 28. LiteraCy iN CaNaDa 2 27 1
  29. 29. Part tHree 3Challenges and Barriers 28 1
  30. 30. tHe CHaLLeNges 3How to: 4 Promote literacy awareness 4 Encourage people to improve their literacy and essential skills 4 Provide the best programs to meet people’s needs 4 Provide training for internationally trained professionals 4 Increase employers’ awareness of importance of essential skills for employees 29 1
  31. 31. Barriers tO JOiNiNga PrOgram 3 4 Fear 4 Gaps in education 4 Negative experiences with education 4 Low self esteem 4 Lack of confidence 4 Family circumstances 4 Learning disabilities 4 Poverty 30 1
  32. 32. OverCOmiNg Barriers 3Literacy practitioners are often skilled athelping learners to:4 Feel accepted4 Grow in self-esteem4 Have confidence to try new tasks4 Learn new skills4 Reach their literacy goals4 Have skills to enter chosen transition path 31 1
  33. 33. Part FOur 4Canadian Literacy and Learning Network CLLN 32 1
  34. 34. rOLe OF CLLN 44 Networking4 Research4 Government liaison4 Communication4 Collaboration4 Capacity building4 Learner development 32 1
  35. 35. CLLN iNFOrms 44 Informs and advises the federal government, policy makers and the general public through: 4 reference groups and advisory committees 4 CLLN website 4 requests for information 4 research 4 project results 33 1
  36. 36. CLLN researCH aND PrOJeCts 4Recent projects include:4 Family Literacy 4 Mapping the Field of Family Literacy in Canada4 Connecting ESL and Literacy 4 Linkages4 Accountability 4 examining accountability-related practices in literacyProposed projects include:4 Scan of Literacy and Essential Skills in Canada 34 1
  37. 37. CLLN COLLaBOrates aND sHares 44 Meets regularly with national literacy organizations to help improve literacy levels for adult Canadians4 Publishes LiteracyExpress for the literacy field4 Consults and partners with organizations dealing with justice, health, ESL and family literacy4 Has a comprehensive website ( that is regularly updated 35 1
  38. 38. CLLN aND its NatiONaL LiteraCy NetWOrk 4DecodaLiteracySolutions 36 1
  39. 39. Thank You. 1