Family Literacy Day - Let's Break the Cycle of Low Literacy!

    MONTREAL, Jan. 27 /CNW Telbec/ - On the occasion of Family Literacy Day,
observed each year on January 27th, the members of the Literacy Coalition call
upon government decision-makers at all levels to do everything in their power
to prevent the continuation of low literacy from one generation to the next.
The Coalition strongly feels that both the income and the literacy level of
families influence how children face their future. The latest International
Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (IALLS 2003) for Quebec reveals that
parents' schooling is a major determinant in children's acquisition of reading
skills. According to the survey, children whose parents have little formal
schooling are more likely to drop out of school and have difficulty reading.
It is therefore essential to ensure that parents upgrade their skills and that
they and their children have access to family literacy services that can help
prevent later literacy problems.
    According to the IALLS survey, approximately 800,000 Quebecers aged 16 to
65 have serious difficulties with reading, writing and counting in everyday
situations. The survey indicates that more than 36% of Quebecers aged 16-25
fall under the accepted average education level. These statistics confirm the
persistence of low literacy in Quebec and highlight the importance of
prioritizing basic skills training for adults as well as activities to prevent
low literacy.
    Working with families, parents and children from underprivileged
backgrounds, each member group of the Literacy Coalition contributes in its
own way to enabling Quebecers to improve their literacy levels. Coalition
member groups from the educational, community and business sectors offer
diverse activities such as:

    - Collecting and distributing children's books;
    - Literacy and parenting workshops;
    - Storytelling demonstrations for parents and their children;
    - Guidance for parents in the supervision of homework and schoolwork;
    - Family training and accompaniment to promote school readiness and
      success (including immigrant families)
    - The development of initiatives to bring the family and schools closer
      together (notably by encouraging the collaboration of various
      organisations in the community)

    These activities have proven effective, but because they rely on
short-term project grants from a limited number of programs, they suffer from
chronic under-funding. The Literacy Coalition advocates serious, long-term
investments for community-based groups, for reading councils and for adult
education centres. The Coalition favours structured and sustainable programs
over short-term projects. We hope that the next government action plan for
adult and continuing education will reflect this request.

    Formed in 2006, the Literacy Coalition is comprised of 16 organisations
from the literacy field, including community groups, resource centres, unions
and school boards, from both the anglophone and francophone sectors. Coalition

For further information:

For further information: or to set up an interview, contact: Cindy D.
Gauthier, Public relations, Literacy Foundation, (514) 289-1178, poste 225,; Marjolaine Perreault, Press attaché,
CSQ, (514) 235-5082,

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