Family literacy activities contribute to Canada's success

TORONTO, Jan. 27, 2013 /CNW/ - Provincial and territorial ministers of education join today with parents, caregivers, and children across Canada to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Family Literacy Day.

Established in 1999 by ABC Life Literacy Canada, Family Literacy Day promotes family reading activities and encourages Canadians to make family time an opportunity for parents and children to learn together. Activities and events are taking place throughout Canada, in schools and libraries, and in the community. In honour of the 15th anniversary, ABC Life Literacy Canada is encouraging families to take "15 minutes of fun" each day to learn together.

This year's celebration comes just weeks after some very encouraging news about literacy and families in Canada. Results from the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) were released on December 11, 2012, and show that Canadian parents have one of the highest levels of involvement in literacy-related activities with their preschool-age children. The study also reports that Canadian students say they enjoy reading more than students in almost any other country, a factor that also has a positive effect on their reading scores.

PIRLS tested the reading literacy skills of over 325,000 Grade 4 students from 45 countries and economies. Canada ranked in the top 10 among participating jurisdictions, with Canadian youngsters scoring 548, well above the PIRLS-scale midpoint of 500. Coordinated by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), PIRLS is currently the only international assessment that measures reading skills at the elementary-school level.

"The results from PIRLS confirm that Canadian parents are doing an excellent job in fostering a culture of literacy in the home," said the Honourable Ramona Jennex, Chair of CMEC and Nova Scotia's Minister of Education. "After all, parents and caregivers are our children's first teachers, welcoming them into the world of language and nurturing their individual and social development. I know I speak for all ministers of education when I say how pleased I am to celebrate their role today."

Literacy remains an integral part of CMEC's work and is interwoven with a variety of programs and activities, including official-languages learning, learning assessment, international engagement, and early childhood learning and development.

Upcoming literacy-related activities in 2013 in which CMEC is participating include:

  • the release in October 2013 of the first results from OECD's flagship assessment of adult skills and learning, the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), which will provide Canadians with one of the most complete portraits ever of adult skills in Canada, including literacy;

  • the release in December 2013 of results from OECD's 2012 Programme for the International Student Assessment (PISA), which will examine the mathematics skills of 15-year-old students, with attention paid to reading, science, and problem solving as well.

About CMEC

Founded in 1967, CMEC is the collective voice of Canada's ministers of education. It provides leadership in education at the pan-Canadian and international levels and contributes to the exercise of the exclusive jurisdiction of provinces and territories over education. For more information, visit us at

SOURCE: Council of Ministers of Education, Canada

For further information:

Colin Bailey
Director, Communications
Cell: 416-929-6970
Tel.: 416-962-8100, ext. 259

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Council of Ministers of Education, Canada

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