Literacy is a form of empowerment, but literacy has transcended the concept of simply teaching people to read and write.
The concept of literacy has expanded to encompass a host of skills that together are a pathway to fulfilling each person’s full potential, said Kate Barton, the Sooke Region Literacy coordinator
“Of course, we are still concerned with teaching basic literacy. That’s still an important part of our mandate,” said Barton. “But we also address issues such as emotional and physical literacy and are concerned with concepts such as family literacy.”
Barton said Decoda, the parent organization that funds the Sooke Literacy Project, believes in pooling its resources with other groups to improve the resources available to the community.
“Decoda’s jumping off point is reading, but they recognize that there are a number of facets to literacy and we don’t limit ourselves to a single interpretation of the concept.”
One of the areas that Barton’s group is exploring involves STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) literacy.
To that end, they will host Sooke’s Family Literacy Day on Jan. 27 with a theme of “Make It!”
They’ve partnered with Engineering for Kids Vancouver Island to provide hands-on learning workshops for three different age ranges.
Children, ages three to six, are invited to have fun with O0bleck (that’s a non-newtonian green gooey substance) and the seven to 10 year olds will have the opportunity to explore the hardware engineering workshop. The older children (11-14) will have the opportunity to learn about 3D printing in the master engineer program.
Sooke Literacy also manages both adult and children’s book bins at SEAPARC, Sooke Family Resource Society, the T’Souke Nation and in the entrance of Edward Milne community school.
“We also run programs like Books for Breakfast where we gather with children and their parents to have a healthy snack and read a book. The neat part is that the children then get to take the book home with them,” said Barton.
Registration information for that program is available at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Literacy is a significant concern in B.C. with an estimated 700,000 people reported to have challenges with basic skills like understanding newspapers, instruction manuals, or reading health information.
Mathematical literacy poses challenges with personal finances and even basic tasks like calculating medicine dosages.
“Our goal is to improve literacy in the widest interpretation of that term, including financial, arithmetic, emotional and physical literacy. They are related and go along with the classical interpretation of literacy,” said Barton.
Information regarding Sooke Literacy can be had by contacting them via Facebook or Instagram @sookeliteracy or by contacting the EMCS Society at 250 642 6371 for upcoming event dates and ongoing activities.