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Literacy in Canada

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Literacy is a very important topic in Canada. It affects every part of society as well as our economy. Canada has a high literacy rate among highly developed countries despite not have a national, standardized literacy program. The literacy movement really began in Canada in 1920 when programs were introduced by Dr. Frank Laubach but really began to pick up steam in the 1980s. It is a continuing process that must be monitored and improved as we try to increase higher literacy rates in this country. Currently Canada has many issues with literacy from vast differences in different regions, the effects it has on this countries labour force, funding for programs, and barriers such as poverty that constantly lower literacy rates. Solutions for these problems are plenty and come from different sources based on social, political and regional of the area which they are derived. The three levels of governments play a key role in the creation and maintaining of literacy levels and their programs but they still have much more to do. Immigration has a major effect on literacy levels and changes must be made so that people coming into this country have a fair chance to compete and excel in Canada like everyone else. Costs for increasing literacy are high but the benefits of doing so greatly outweigh those costs. The future of literacy in Canada is bright but more must be done to improve levels so that Canada can compete with countries around the world. Recommendations have been made to improve rates and they must be taken seriously.

Literacy in Canada

The concept of "literacy" has evolved. Literacy now means more than the basic ability to read and write. Literacy skill levels now also reflect a person's ability to understand and use information, a key function in a world where daily living requires higher communication and information processing skills. Literacy is the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate, compute and use printed and written materials associated with varying context. Literacy involves a continuum of learning to enable an individual to achieve his or her goals, to develop his or her knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in the wider society (Statistics Canada, 2006). Increasingly, you will often hear the term "Essential Skills". Essential skills are the foundational skills required to learn all other skills. Everyone needs literacy and essential skills to be able to function effectively at work, at home and in the community. Essential skills are adaptable to all situations. Essential skills help people to be more productive and to more easily learn new tasks. In its basic form, literacy is about learning to read and write reading and writing to learn, and developing these skills and using them effectively for meeting basic needs. Definitions of literacy commonly refer to the skills used in everyday life or to those that allow one to function competently in society. Rather than seeing literacy as a fixed set of generic and technical skills. Literacy and basic education services should be available to any adult who needs them to achieve the goals they set for themselves at work, at home, and in the community. It also means that we accept the notion that literacy and learning are lifetime concerns. It is also important to link literacy to the development of other skills and knowledge by, for example, ensuring that there is a literacy component in apprenticeship programmes and in job-related training. This should be the case in terms of both formal and non-formal skills and knowledge development. Many trades have specialized vocabularies and those need to be taught along with the skills required to work effectively and well in those jobs. This paper will discuss Canadian literacy. Its history, current issues, government's role, immigration, cost vs. benefits, the future of Canadian literacy and recommendations going forward (The Advisory Committee on Literacy and Essential Skills, 2005). Jonathon Hatcher, former payroll coordinator for Laubach Literacy Council of Newfoundland and Labrador, states "Literacy is one of the biggest concerns we face as a nation. There must be processes, procedures, standards and methods of testing put in place as we increase literacy as a nation. The time to act is now as it affects both us and the next generation, someone finally has to get the ball rolling and improve situations for all Canadians" (Jonathon Hatcher, Personal Communication, September 26 2010). I am writing this report as I am interested in literacy in Canada, its history and I am curious about the effect literacy has in on all aspects of our lives. I believe literacy is a very important topic because I worked firsthand in the industry this summer and found that it was both personally and professionally gratifying, as well I noticed the effects that it can have on children, adults, staff, tutors and especially on payroll coordinators The topics written about in this report are Canadian literacy, its history, Issues which include regionalism, barriers/challenges and solutions, the role of all three levels of government, the effect of immigration, the cost vs. benefits of increasing literacy, the future of literacy in Canada, and some recommendations going forward. The types of research i have used in this report include online journals, papers and magazines as well as websites. I used books, conducted interviews and used some personal knowledge in the creation of this paper written for Mr. Michael Crant.

Canadian Literacy

Canadians are an

educated lot. More

Canadians have a university education than any other developed nation, and only five countries have a higher percentage of high-school grads. Fifty two percent of Canadians aged 16 years of age

and over had literacy scores in the Level three category or above. Level three is generally considered to be the minimum level of literacy required to function well at work and in daily living. This means that nearly half of Canadians had low levels of literacy. The Following chart shows the percentage of Canadians that reach the specific prose levels.

Literacy levels, Canada, 1999 and 2008 (percent)

Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4/5

1999 22 25 34 20

2008 20 28 35 17

About one in every seven Canadians, 15 percent scored the lowest performance level, meaning that a large number of Canadians have problems dealing with printed material and identify themselves as people who have difficulty reading. The two youngest



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