New, innovative educational methods designed to support work of
child care practitioners
CALGARY, June 6 /CNW Telbec/ - With more than seven million Canadian
adults struggling with language and literacy problems daily, North America's
leading educators, researchers and policy makers will meet in Calgary to
unveil innovative tools to help improve reading, writing and communications
skills among Canada's youth and support the work of child care practitioners
across the country.
WHAT: Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network
6th Annual Network Conference
WHEN: June 9-11, 2007
WHERE: Westin Hotel Calgary, 320 4 Avenue SW, Conference Level
"Canada's competitiveness in the future depends on our children being able
to communicate, and targeting children in their early years is key to ensure
they're successful," said Donald G. Jamieson, CEO and Scientific Director of
the Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network. "Our annual conference is
the premier event in the field of early literacy development. Creating a space
for information exchange and collaboration among prominent language and
literacy researchers, educators and policy makers is essential if we are to
achieve our goal of improving the lives of Canadian children."
Highlights of this year's conference include:
- The launch of a first-of-its-kind multimedia resource kit, designed to
improve child care education across the country. Called Language and
Literacy: From Birth... For Life, the kit - created in association with
the Canadian Child Care Federation - provides tips, techniques, CD-ROM
presentations and summary sheets of all current knowledge in language
and literacy, to help practitioners from coast to coast stimulate
development of young children in their lifelong journey of literacy.
The kit - aimed at children from infants to six years of age -will be
distributed free of charge to child care practitioners working in
centre-based or family child care settings across the country.
Monday, June 11, 12:30 - 1:30pm in the Brittania/Belaire room.
- The launch of the first comprehensive Web site - called the
Encyclopedia of Language and Literacy Web site - offering a world-wide
compilation of language and literacy research resources in one
centralized database. The Web site has been developed to provide easy,
timely, one-stop access to knowledge on language and literacy
development for service providers, planners and policy makers, all of
whom require this information to ensure advances are made in the field.
Sunday, June 10, 10:30am - 12:00pm in the Eau Claire room.
- A symposium on Aboriginal Literacy, which will explore language and
literacy issues faced by the Aboriginal community and discuss ways of
improving reading and writing skills among Aboriginal youth, including
workshops, an interactive panel discussion, and keynote address by
Dr. George Fulford, University of Winnipeg and University of Manitoba,
who will focus on the effects of Aboriginal language immersion
programs. Monday, June 11, 8:30am - 12:00pm (Keynote from
8:30 - 9:15am) in the Britannia/Belaire room.
- Seminars for educators and early childhood educators on language and
literacy development and on working with children with language
difficulties, and a symposium on family literacy, featuring leading
North American speakers and interactive workshops.
- Keynote and symposium keynote addresses by Dr. Susan B. Neuman, School
of Education, University of Michigan and Former U.S. Assistant
Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, whose presentation,
"Changing the odd for children at risk", will focus on seven essentials
that interventions should have to improve children's achievement; and
Dr. Linda M. Phillips, Professor and Director, Canadian Centre for
Research on Literacy, University of Alberta, who will discuss the role
of families in early literacy development.
The Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network is a federal Network
of Centres of Excellence that brings together leading scientists, clinicians,
students and educators with public and private partners. The Network's mandate
is to generate, integrate and disseminate bias-free scientific research and
knowledge that is focused on improving and sustaining children's language and
literacy development in Canada.
Interview and photo opportunities will be available. Visuals at the
- A sacred Aboriginal ceremony to open the Aboriginal Literacy Symposium
(photo ops to be arranged following the ceremony itself)
Monday, June 11, 8:30am, Britannia/Belaire room;
- Launch address and onstage presentation of the Language and Literacy:
From Birth ... For Life resource kit Monday, June 11, 12:30 - 1:30pm,
- DVD-CAM footage of children learning in child-care settings is also
Language and Literacy Facts
- According to Statistics Canada, language and literacy deficiencies
limit 25% of Canadians. More than 7,000,000 have challenges with
reading and writing.
- An international adult literacy survey shows that a 1% increase in
Canada's literacy rate will result in a 2.5% increase in productivity
and a 1.5% increase in gross domestic product. That's $18 billion in
annual GDP growth.
- Statistics Canada reports that: adults with low literacy are about two
times more likely to be unemployed for six or more months, than those
who have normal or higher literacy; and 33% of all Canadian adults over
15 do not have a degree, certificate or diploma.
- According to studies: 22% of Ontario children aged four and five have
poor verbal skills - these children tend not to do well in the school
system; and 32% of Grade 10 students in Ontario score low on literacy
The Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network
The Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network was formed by a group
of leading Canadian researchers with a long-standing scientific interest in
language and literacy. The Network is incorporated as a not-for-profit
corporation and is governed by a Board of Directors with experience in
business, law, accounting, health care, media, academia and government.
Research activities are underway at 37 institutions across the country,
involving 165 researchers, over 300 students and project associates and more
than 100 partner organizations from the public, private and voluntary sectors.
Headquartered at The University of Western Ontario, the Network receives
$3.55-million annually (2005-2008).
The Network's Goals
- Combine new and existing knowledge to improve the language and literacy
skills of Canadian children.
- Establish networks of selected groups of practitioners to facilitate
the application of research to practice.
- Measure the efficacy of conventional practices in the field and apply
available knowledge to create improved educational and treatment plans
- Establish permanent networks with federal and provincial governments
for the development of evidence-based policies.
Key Network Activities
- Investing in multidisciplinary projects and leveraging the knowledge
available across The Network.
- Investing in shared resources and complex technologies that are made
available to individual investigators, who could not afford to access
them on their own.
- Providing funds to train students in the language and literacy field,
and fostering their growth, as they become the next generation of child
language and literacy experts.
- Creating links between the research, education, clinical and partner
communities that will quickly translate findings into action.
- Promoting partnerships with industry, education and health advocacy
groups, service delivery agencies, not-for-profit organizations and
Five Research Priority Areas
The Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network has identified that
there is a definite, positive economic and social impact connected to
improving early language and literacy in Canada. Canadians with the lowest
literacy skills have the highest rates of unemployment (26%) compared to only
4% for those with the highest skills. As such, the Network has identified
research priority areas for groups of children who are at risk of poor
1. Aboriginal children
Between 40% and 50% of aboriginal children fail to meet the
requirements of Grades 4, 7 and 10 literacy and numeracy tests.
Furthermore, 75% fail to graduate from high school. The playing
field is not level - but focusing on language and literacy
development in the early years will make a difference.
2. Children in immigrant families
Today we find that 60% of Canada's population growth is comprised of
new immigrants. The majority do not speak English or French as a first
language - most are young, with young families or planning new
families. A Statistics Canada study found that the children of new
immigrant families take seven to eight years to achieve the Canadian
literacy norm. If literacy skills continue to be deficient, these
children will show a 20% wage earnings gap as compared to native-born
3. Minority language children
The numeracy and literacy/language skills of 48% of Canadian
francophone adults are too limited to allow them to deal with the
majority of written materials encountered in everyday life. This is
especially evident outside of Quebec.
4. Children with special needs
Research shows that 15% of Ontario high school students in the academic
program are not passing the Grade 10 literacy test and 55% of those in
the applied program are failing the reading portion. The high school
drop out rate reached almost 30% in 2005.
5. Typically-developing children
Even within environments where the social, physical and intellectual
development of a child is typical, there is much that can be learned
that can inform intervention and educational programs so that our
children can reach their maximum potential.
For more information, please visit www.cllrnet.ca
For further information:
For further information: Media Information: Gail Bergman or Indira
Tarachandra, Gail Bergman PR, (905) 886-1340 or (905) 886-4091,