Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy
More than half a million British Columbians face significant challenges because of limited literacy skills, whether it’s an inability to read the newspaper, or a lack of understanding of important financial or health documents.
Literacy skills are vital to all British Columbians because they are a necessary part of everyday life and impact everything from healthcare to employment and economic status. Literacy is no longer just the ability to read or write. It encompasses a much wider scope of daily activities, including using technology, doing calculations, communicating verbally and in writing, and problem-solving.
This month, Black Press, Kootenay Savings Credit Union and the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) are joining forces to raise funds and awareness about the importance of literacy with the 5th Annual Reach a Reader campaign.
The campaign will culminate with community leaders and volunteers hitting the streets across the Columbia Basin and Boundary to distribute special editions of local papers and collect donations in support of community-based literacy programs.
The Reach a Reader campaign coincides with Decoda Literacy Solutions’ Literacy is Life Campaign — a province-wide fundraising and awareness campaign designed to put a human face on literacy and shed light on how low literacy affects children and adults, Aboriginal and immigrant communities, those in the workforce, and the economy as a whole.
CBAL’s executive director, Ali Wassing, says: “Literacy skills are essential for a vibrant B.C. economy, so addressing limited levels benefits everyone. We would encourage anyone who is affected by literacy issues to tap into the many resources and literacy programs available in their community.”
To find out more about literacy in the Windermere Valley, contact Katie Andruschuk at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to cbal.org.
THE IMPORTANCE OF LITERACY
Literacy Matters for the Economy
• A one per cent increase in literacy levels would raise Canada’s productivity by 2.5 per cent, or an estimated $32 billion boost to our annual GDP.
Literacy Matters for Health
• Thirty per cent of those with high literacy say they have excellent health, compared to 19 per cent of those with low literacy.
• Researchers estimate that three to five per cent of total health care costs are due to limited understanding about health information. This translates into $680 million each year in B.C.
Literacy Matters for Seniors
• Literacy skills may decline with age due to health problems and lack of use. Over 70 per cent of seniors have low literacy.
• Seniors with low literacy may have problems filling out pension forms or understanding medical information.