At this time of year, we start to think about a fresh start. The new school year is approaching and with it comes the anticipation of a new beginning. It’s a clean slate - with potential for all sorts of experiences and learning. The anticipation is sometimes mixed with excitement, and a bit of hesitation, for what lies ahead. There might be new school shoes, fresh pencils, unmarked scribblers and packages of binder paper. There is excitement about who this year’s teachers will be, what friendships will be made and how hard the work will be.
As children, youth and adults head back to school, there will be other kinds of fresh starts. New Canadians and refugees will be settling in their new homes and may be learning English in community-based programs. New parents will be taking their little ones to programs like Mother Goose, Love 2 Learn and Together to Learn, to get a great start through rhymes, songs and stories. Seniors and adults will be dropping in to programs for help with new devices like iPads and tablets. Adults learning new skills will show what they have learned through earning digital badges.
We have many “fresh starts” in our lives. It’s part of being a life long learner, and has a big impact on individuals and communities. Here are a few statistics on the impact of literacy and learning from Decoda Literacy Solution’s website:
- Regardless of socio-economic background, children whose parents read books to them in their early school years had better reading test scores at age 15.
- Having strong literacy, numeracy and problem solving skills is positively connected to being part of the labour market. It is also associated with being employed and earning higher wages.
- Investment in education and skills training (human capital) is three times as important to economic growth over the long run as investment in machinery and equipment (physical capital).
It takes courage to embrace a new beginning … and you can help! In the Columbia Basin and Boundary watch for the 6th Annual Reach a Reader campaign, which supports community-based literacy programs across the region. Save your coins for the new Loonies for Literacy piggy banks you’ll start seeing in local businesses and at community programs. Support businesses like Blue Sky Clothing Co, which is helping to “Sock it to Literacy” by donating $1 to local literacy programs for every pair of “reading purple” socks sold. Or, volunteer to tutor an adult learner or newcomer to your community.
Let’s work together to support these new beginnings.
You can learn more about CBAL's community-based literacy programs in your community by visiting our Community Programs page.
Community Literacy Coordinator
Columbia Basin Alliance for literacy - Nelson