Media advisory - Leading Educators, Researchers to Meet in Calgary June 9-11 to Unveil Tools to Improve Literacy Among Young Canadians

         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
conference include:

    - 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,
      Brittania/Belaire room;

    - 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
      and protocols.
    - 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
language/literacy development:

      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

For further information:

For further information: Media Information: Gail Bergman or Indira
Tarachandra, Gail Bergman PR, (905) 886-1340 or (905) 886-4091,

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