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Giving Voice: Your Literacy News March 2023

48% of adult Canadians have literacy skills below a high school level.

By becoming more informed about literacy, you are helping empower adults so they can have a more successful future, personally and professionally.

Your Impact

Jordan’s journey began when he struggled with adult education classes. Fortunately, he joined Literacy Unlimited’s free one-on-one English literacy tutoring program. His tutor helped develop a plan for Jordan based on his needs and desired outcome, which helped him develop the skills needed to build his CV and ace job interviews. All his efforts paid off – five years later, Jordan is still working at the same place! His progress has been remarkable, but seeing how improved literacy boosted his self-confidence was even more rewarding.

Thanks to your support, Literacy Unlimited helps other adults like Jordan become contributing members of our community by putting into practice what they learn here!

To learn more about adult literacy, click on the following topics.

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Literacy in Quebec

  • 53% of the Quebec adult population aged 16-65 is at or below level 3 reading level.
    • Level 3 is roughly equivalent to high school graduation and is considered the minimum to function adequately in our communication-driven society.
  • 1 out of 5 adults in Quebec are at the lowest levels of literacy.
    • May have difficulty understanding newspapers, following instruction manuals, reading health information and other daily living tasks
    • May have difficulty calculating interest on a car loan, using information on a graph, calculating medicine dosage and other daily living tasks
  • Less than 20% of the people with the lowest literacy skills are employed.
  • 29% of individuals with low literacy levels are from low-income households.
  • 63-90% of Canadian homeless youth did not complete high school.
  • Adults with low literacy are 2.5 times more likely to be in fair or poor health.

Read more: PIAAC is the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, an international assessment of the foundational information-processing skills required to participate in the social and economic life of advanced economies in the 21st century. The latest survey results will be published in 2024.

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What is Literacy?

We live in a knowledge society. Literacy is more than just reading and writing. Literacy includes oral communication, thinking, reading, continuous learning, document use, computer use, writing, working with others and numeracy. Living in a knowledge society means depending on creating and distributing information through technology. This requires higher levels of literacy than at any previous time in human history.

The Canadian government has identified nine essential skills, “Skills for Success”, that provide Canadians with everyday skills needed for work, learning, and life.

Read more: The Canadian government Skills for Success.

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Impact of Low Literacy

  • Unemployment/Underemployment
  • Poorer health
  • Increased chance of conflict with the law
  • Difficulties helping children with homework (generational impact)
  • Lower self-esteem and confidence
  • Community isolation and weaker civic engagement
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Causes of Low Literacy

  • No access to education
  • A learning disability not recognized in the school system
  • Poverty and/or difficult family situations
  • Different priorities
  • Illness
  • Fell through the cracks in the education system – couldn’t adapt to school’s learning system
  • and more
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Potential Signs of Low Literacy

  • Forgets glasses or cannot write because of an injury or pain
  • Takes documents home
  • Arrives very early/late to appointments
  • Mispronounces words or has a hard time expressing themselves or an idea
  • Has many spelling errors in handwritten documents
  • Has dropped out of high school or has not continued education after high school
  • Turns down a job opportunity or promotion
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Literacy Unlimited Learners

  • Have life experience
  • Have needs that are concrete and immediate
  • Attend voluntarily
  • Are used to being treated as mature individuals
  • Enjoy having their talents and information made use of in a teaching situation
  • Come from one of a wide variety of backgrounds
  • Attend classes often with a mixed set of motives
  • Are sometimes fatigued when they attend classes
  • May have a fear of an academic environment and may not trust that they can learn
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Did You Know?

Since 2002, the Quebec government has recognized the challenges of adult learners with Adult Learners’ Week, celebrated next month from April 3-7.

Adult learners require tremendous dedication and perseverance while balancing work and personal life. The theme of this year is “Stick with it,” recognizing the incredible dedication that learners exhibit during their journey towards improved literacy. Join us as we congratulate our learners and all adults working on improving their skills, whether it is a work or personal skill.

Unlimited Seniors Club

This new program offers seniors unlimited opportunities and possibilities, whether it be for socializing, learning, or participating in activities.

April Events:

April 4: Tech Help 55+
April 14: Power Snacks 55+
April 18: Social Teatime 55+
April 25: Chair Exercises 55+

To learn more and register, click HERE.

Faces of Literacy Unlimited

Welcome Josephine E. Sciortino, one of two new members of the Literacy Unlimited Board of Directors.

Josephine works as Editorial Director at Canadian Science Publishing. She also teaches a class at The George Washington University in the Publishing department. She is a proud volunteer at the Pointe-Claire Library with the Friends of the Library.

You can follow her social media at LinkedIn and Twitter.

Welcome also to Margot (Maggie) McCulloch, the second new member of our Board of Directors.

Margot (Maggie) McCulloch is a recently retired Resource teacher/coordinator from St. Thomas High School. Working with many types of learners has helped her understand that we are all unique individuals and no matter what one’s ability, benefit from a helping hand.

Looking for Learners

Do you know someone who might have low literacy and could use our services?

They may pass on jobs that require reading or writing. They may avoid training courses because they might be asked to do something alone.

Literacy Unlimited tutors will help them build the reading and writing skills they need for work, for school, and for life.

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Contact us today

Please fill out this form or phone us at 514-694-0007.

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Tutoring Tip of the Month

Make it relevant. Adult learners have life experience that makes teaching them different than teaching children. Relate learning activities to real life examples and personal challenges. Encourage your learners to bring relevant materials to their tutoring session.

(And this is just as true teaching someone in the workforce!)

Upcoming Events

Recent Literacy Unlimited News

Our first Community Reads! small scale library was launched in October 2022. We partnered with Volunteer West Island to build the library in their facility. Thanks to the generosity of a corporate sponsor, we were able to create an engaging space for promoting literacy, lifelong learning, and access to books if there aren’t many at home. The books and resources are free and available in a familiar location. The Gazette, West Island News and CBC covered the official opening. Read more.

#LaceUpForLiteracy and join the Literacy Unlimited team for an in-person or virtual walk as we raise funds for literacy in Quebec. The in-person event will be held April 22 and the virtual race can be run (walk or crawl) any time up to May 31st. Read more.

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