Someone once said that reading the word means reading the world, and vice versa. This approach – literacy as empowerment – is at the core of many literacy programs based in Canada. In Canada, 17% of adults between 16 to 65 years of age struggle with low levels of literacy. For these Canadians, improving literacy does not simply mean enhancing basic reading skills, it is a way to fully participate in the world and boost economic prosperity.
In towns and cities across the country, adults from all walks of life benefit from literacy programs to learn how to read and write, upgrade courses to qualify for secondary education, or to finish high school and get access to opportunities. Literacy is also crucial for the healthy development of children, families and caregivers, some of whom don’t have access to educational programs and literacy services. Access to books, tutoring, supplies, and after-school clubs are part of this. However, access to classes and services, whether inside or outside of schools, is severely limited in some communities. Literacy also enables communication, and builds connections to culture and identity — with new communities, and within communities and families.
How literacy charities are providing Canadians with essential skills
Charities supporting literacy are often part of wider networks and that have deep roots in their communities. Working within tight budgets, they develop programs, train volunteers or staff to deliver them, and lend resources online and on paper to bring programs to life. Many charities also promote literacy networks and awareness programs, increasing access to classes, certificates, and job opportunities.
Public libraries, the vast majority of which rely on charitable contributions, are often part of these networks. Libraries enrich the lives of their communities with book collections, programs for children, services for teens and seniors, access to e-books and audio books, and public spaces to host community events, student groups, and individuals who need a quiet place to study.
And, internationally, hundreds of charities in Canada run literacy programs that provide books, learning materials, classes, schools, and opportunities in a world that requires reading and writing and the knowledge that comes with it.
You can help improve reading and writing skills and change lives
Investing in literacy programs means not just changing the lives of individuals, for their present and their future, but contributing to the economic prosperity of the country. To support the critical work of charities across the country creating a more just world through literacy, CanadaHelps created the Literacy for All Fund. It’s an easy way to support, in a single transaction, hundreds of Canadian charities working towards the same goal.