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(Toronto August 31, 2009)
Article Source: Ontario Literacy Coalition
Created by the Ontario Literacy Coalition, in partnership with the Regional Literacy Networks, Sectoral Networks and the Provincial Literacy Coalitions, Literacy in Ontario provides an overview of adult literacy in the province of Ontario.
Literacy in Ontario’s first chapter – What is Literacy? – situates “Literacy” as an everexpanding term, reflecting the context in which literacy skills are used. The literacy skills required to be successful in 2009 are quite different from the skills that were needed 20 or even 10 years ago. The first chapter also provides important information on the role literacy skills play in the various economic and social outcomes of Canadians. Literacy has a direct impact on productivity, income, labour force participation, health, poverty reduction, and citizen engagement.Literacy in Ontario’s second chapter is an overview of “Literacy Programming in Ontario.” The Literacy and Basic Skills Program (LBS) provides financial support to 219 agencies to provide literacy training and academic upgrading in about 350 sites to 50,000 Ontarians each year. Each client is supplied with information and referral services, a literacy assessment, a training plan, literacy training, and evaluation and follow-up. A province-wide system of outcomes assists in the smooth transition from one literacy level to another and from one form of intervention to another (e.g. from literacy training to employment training or an academic program). Literacy in Ontario outlines the literacy training system including the infrastructure that supports the system and the pathways to other Ontario government services.
The third chapter deals with “Literacy Statistics and Trends.” Beginning with an overview of the forces in Ontario that affect literacy levels and the factors that lead to lower literacy levels, the chapter moves on to present statistics on the learners in Ontario’s literacy system. These numbers help to paint a portrait of literacy learners – their demographics, their goals, and their successes.
Literacy in Ontario concludes by providing contact information for provincial level and regional level literacy organizations.
The challenge for Ontario and its literacy programs is how to reach the 1.9 million people with the lowest levels of literacy as well as the 2.4 million people who read, but not well enough for today’s economy. Currently, Ontario LBS programs are only funded to serve about 50,000 learners each year.
The Ontario Literacy Coalition hopes that Literacy in Ontario serves a foundational reference document for understanding everything about literacy in the province.
Copies of Literacy in Ontario can be found here.
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