International Literacy Day is about more than reading

Literacy is a fundamental human right according to UNESCO

Literacy is not just about learning to read, write and do math, it is about giving individuals the tools to live a more fulfilling life and improving society as a whole. Being literate as an individual means being able to navigate a website, conduct banking and send a text message on a cell phone. Being literate as a family means being able to read to your children, help them with their homework and read a map together while on a family holiday. Being literate as a society means participating in politics through voting, having an opinion on current events and feeling like a participant in the future of our country.

In British Columbia, 40 per cent of citizens have a hard time reading a newspaper, filling out application forms or reading a map. Forty-nine per cent of British Columbians do not have the skills to calculate a tip, create a budget or understand credit card interest rates. Seventy per cent of seniors in B.C. have low literacy, likely due to lack of use and health problems. (See www.Decoda.ca for more statistics on literacy in B.C.)

Fortunately, in 2008, the government of British Columbia formed a program called Literacy Now. Out of this initiative was born the Sooke Region Community Literacy Plan in which our community’s literacy needs were identified and programs were developed to address them.

Fast forward to 2014 and the successful programs in our community are still in place. The Book Bins, placed at SEAPARC, Sooke Child, Youth and Family Centre, The Stick in the Mud and on the T’Souke Nation Reserve, offer free children’s and adult books to the community. About 150 books per week are distributed to our community through this program thanks to some very dedicated volunteers. The Books for Breakfast program for preschool children will be starting this fall for the fourth year in a row, where a healthy snack, story time and a free book are provided to participants. This summer 24 school aged children, enjoyed a free Play and Learn Camp (Literacy, Numeracy and Recreation).  All students enjoyed the benefit of learning through play and building upon and improving their literacy skills, thanks to camp staff, volunteers and funders. The Sooke Literacy Task Group, made up of community members, is dedicated to finding solutions to any of the literacy challenges in the Sooke Region. For more information on programs please go to www.sookewestshoreliteracy.com .

Over 40 years ago, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared September 8 as International Literacy Day. This year, they are celebrating the day in Dhaka, Bangladesh by holding an international conference on Girls’ and Women’s Literacy and Education entitled “Foundations for Sustainable Development.”

UNESCO sees literacy as “a fundamental human right and the foundation for lifelong learning. It is fully essential to social and human development in its ability to transform lives. For individuals, families, and societies alike, it is an instrument of empowerment to improve one’s health, one’s income, and one’s relationship with the world.”

For more information on programs please go to www.sookewestshoreliteracy.com .

Contributed by Stephanie Croft, Sooke Region

Literacy Outreach Coordinator

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wild Wise Sooke is pushing to get local waste management companies to hop on board to provide bear-resistant bins as an option for residents. On Nov. 23, Sooke council voted to write a letter of support for Wild Wise to send to companies such as GFL Environmental Inc. and Sooke Disposal Ltd. (Black Press Media file photo)
Wild Wise Sooke continues push for bear-resistant bins as option for residents

Bins could cost anywhere from $150 to $300 or more, according to 2019 study

The Sooke Christmas Bureau, which serves over 400 hampers to families and residents in need, has extended their deadline to include anyone in need that has missed their Dec. 1 cutoff. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sooke Christmas Bureau extends deadline for hampers

Non-profit group says monetary donations goes further than non-perishables

Island Health has reported a COVID-19 outbreak at Saanich Peninsula Hospital. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Four new COVID-19 cases added to Saanich Peninsula Hospital outbreak

Inital round of patient testing is complete, staff testing continues

The District of Sooke is another step closer to approving its 2021 financial plan. (Kevin Laird - Sooke News Mirror)
Pandemic uncertainty looms over Sooke municipal budget

Council trims property tax increase to 3.3 per cent

The Sooke Santa Run will feature their youngest members as Santas, an annual tradition for the firefighters in Sooke, East Sooke, Shirley and Otter Point. The drive-by event takes place throughout the Sooke neighbourhood on Dec. 12. (File - Sooke News Mirror)
No one outside fire hall allowed to help volunteer for Sooke Santa Run

Drive-by event takes place on Dec. 12, with goal to raise $15,000

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

(AP Photo/Paula Bronstein)
POLL: Has COVID-19 changed your plans for the holidays?

The lights are going up, the stacks of presents under the tree… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 1

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Watch Messiah at home with the Sooke Philharmonic

Concert available to stream Dec. 12

Emergency crews used a backhoe loader to clear fire debris from the scene of a fire on Wesley Street Thursday as police and firefighters gathered up propane tanks, stoves and fireplaces used by camp residents to heat tents. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
City of Nanaimo dismantles downtown homeless encampment after fire

Four to six tents burned up in Wesley Street fire Thursday, Dec. 3

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

BC Ambulance Services reassures people that the service is well staffed and ready to respond. Photo by Don Bodger
BC Ambulance assures the Island community they’re ‘fully staffed’

‘Paramedics are not limited to a geographical area.’ — BCEHS

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Most Read