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Literacy programs help British Columbians develop essential language, listening skills

Press Release

Sept. 23, 2019

VICTORIA – Children and families throughout B.C. will have the opportunity to spark their imagination and foster lifelong learning through innovative community literacy programs, thanks to a $500,000 provincial government investment to support 2019’s Raise-a-Reader campaign.

“Literacy is so important to the lives of all British Columbians,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “Raise-a-Reader plays a very important role in supporting literacy by raising funds for community programs throughout the province. Thank you to Raise-a-Reader partners, Decoda Literacy Solutions and community members who plan local fundraisers. You’re doing great work to help British Columbians read and succeed.”

The annual week-long campaign supports literacy by increasing awareness and raising money to fund community-based programs throughout British Columbia. Families and children will have the opportunity to engage in reading, playing and other activities that help develop literacy skills through a variety of programs.

“Every year, funds from Raise-a-Reader support literacy programs and services that benefit children and families,” said Margaret Sutherland, executive director, Decoda Literacy Solutions. “We are grateful for the B.C. government’s ongoing support for literacy and learning.”

Raise-a-Reader was launched by the Vancouver Sun in 1997. This year’s contribution was announced during the 2019 Raise-a-Reader Week, held Sept. 20-27. Since 2009, the total provincial investment is almost $5.5 million in support of literacy programs offered through public libraries, Indigenous organizations, community literacy organizations, schools and family resource centres.

“The Vancouver Sun’s Raise-a-Reader program helps empower children to connect with the world around them by building literacy skills,” said Harold Munro, editor-in-chief for the Vancouver Sun. “We applaud the government and institutions who have joined us in this campaign to enrich young lives across B.C. Postmedia is also grateful to our generous readers for contributing to this important initiative.”

The government’s $500,000 investment flows through Decoda Literacy Solutions, the only provincewide literacy organization in B.C., to community programs throughout the province.

Examples of B.C. community programs that benefit from Raise-a-Reader include:

Cortes Island Inuit Story Telling Program: Cortes Literacy, working with the Cortes Island school and community, brought the author and Inuit storyteller Michael Kusugak to provide a day-long storytelling and book-reading workshop. Cortes also hosted children’s author and school teacher Monica Nawrocki to run a series of workshops for youth aged 10 to 15, to learn the basics of good storytelling, including how to put stories into words and edit them.

Prince George Read and Run Program: This program provided children with the opportunity to read with their caregivers. After reading a designated number of books, they were eligible for an all-expenses paid trip to Vancouver to run in the Vancouver Sun Run.

Mission Reading Buddies Program: This long-standing program, now in its 17th year, matches volunteers with elementary students who struggle with reading. The program is held at the Okanagan Regional Public Library – Mission Branch. Volunteers are middle and high school students, retirees and interested adults. The little and big buddies meet once a week for one hour and spend time reading, playing games, colouring and doing crossword/word search puzzles. The goal is to ignite a love of reading.

Southern Stl’atl’imx Words of Wisdom video project: Words of Wisdom is a tool for families to learn about Stl’atl’imx language and culture together at home. This project brought artist Christine Germano to Stl’atl’imx communities to facilitate storytelling and postcard-making with youth and Elders.

Quick Facts:

  • Since 1997, the campaign has raised more than $18 million for literacy initiatives in B.C.
  • During the annual Raise-a-Reader Week, the campaign features daily stories in the Vancouver Sun’s print and online editions highlighting community literacy programs.
  • This year, people can donate to the campaign through the Canada Helps website, supported by the Decoda Literacy Foundation.
  • Last year, over 50,000 children, parents and caregivers attended 2,500 family literacy sessions made possible with support from Raise-a-Reader, in addition to thousands of books and learning materials distributed to family literacy programs, schools and libraries around B.C.

Learn More:

To donate to the 2019 Raise-a-Reader campaign, visit: www.raise-a-reader.com

Decoda Literacy Solutions and Foundation: https://www.decoda.ca/support-us/events/raise-a-reader-month/

Contact:

Ministry of Education
Government Communications and Public Engagement
250 356-5963

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: news.gov.bc.ca/connect

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