We Canadians tend to think of being taught to read and write as a basic human right, and it actually is here. And most of us would be surprised to learn that there are many Canadians who have not yet had that right fulfilled, for a variety of reasons. It could have been because they have learning disabilities and were never given the help they needed; or because they left school before finishing high school, or even elementary school. It may have been because they didn’t get support for education from their family. But the fact is that 14% of working aged Canadian adults find everyday literacy tasks, like reading menus or writing lists, difficult. Another 27 per cent struggle with more complex materials.
Right here in Creston there are plenty of folks who are not able to enjoy, as you are, reading our local newspaper because their reading skills are not high enough. There are others who cannot read the directions on prescription bottles well enough to take their medication safely, use the library, or read bulletin boards. Others are stuck in low –paying jobs because they can’t read well enough to get further education or training.
But all in the Literacy field is not doom and gloom. We are making progress. We have an excellent updated community literacy plan to guide us in program planning over the coming years. We also have many great programs and organisations here in town that promote life- long learning, assist parents to prepare their children for school, help school children read better and provide tutoring for anyone who wants to improve their reading , writing or math skills. And we also have many individuals who are passionate about literacy and ensuring that everyone who wants it has access to these kinds of opportunities. These are our Champions of Literacy.
To honour our Champions of Literacy the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) Creston has instituted the now annual Community Literacy Award. We are accepting nominations of individuals, organisations or businesses that you think have made a significant contribution to Literacy in the Creston Valley. Maybe it’s a grandparent who reads to your children, a friend who helps others fill out forms, a business or organisation that has a Community Bookshare Bookshelf, or that incredible teacher who made a difference in your life. Last year’s winner was Kootenay Employment Services.
The deadline for nominations is June 10th. The winner, and all who are nominated, will be honoured at a community celebration on International Literacy Day, Sept. 8th. Nomination forms are available, and can be dropped off, at the Library, the Creston Education Centre or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to have one sent to you. Come on Creston! Show that you care about Literacy. Nominate your Literacy Champion!