Over 25 Per Cent of Canadians Cannot Read This Media Release

    Consultations across the country aim to improve literacy skills of young

    LONDON, ON, Feb. 3 /CNW/ - Over 25 per cent of Canadian adults cannot
read a newspaper article, follow the instructions on a medicine container or
complete a job application form because they struggle with language, literacy
and numeracy problems everyday. In March, as part of the National Strategy for
Early Literacy initiative, the Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network
(CLLRNet) will host public consultations in 11 major cities across the
country. Individuals and organizations with an interest in literacy, including
parents, policymakers, educators and health care professionals are invited to
submit ideas that will improve the literacy outcomes for Canadian children.
    "The NSEL initiative is examining the evidence regarding how literacy
outcomes can be improved for Canadian children and youth," said Dr. Donald
Jamieson, CEO and Scientific Director of CLLRNet. "By holding forums across
Canada, we will learn what is working in communities across Canada, discuss
the implications for a national strategy to improve literacy, and make
specific recommendations for action - by parents in the home, by educators in
schools and early learning environments, and in the community".
    In advance of the consultations, CLLRNet has issued a public invitation
to either provide written input to a panel of literacy professionals and
stakeholders or present at a consultation session. In order to participate,
interested parties must submit an information brief by February 15, 2009.
Submissions can be emailed to nselsubmission@cllrnet.ca. The information brief
should address an aspect of the challenge 'what can be done to improve the
literacy skills of Canadian children?'

    About literacy in Canada:

    Literacy problems begin early in life. Statistics show that about
one-fifth of Canadian children aged four to five already show delays in
vocabulary development. For youth and adults, the impact of low literacy is
significant. It affects education and career success, social interaction and
even a person's health and well being. Improving the literacy skills of young
Canadians would have enormous, long-term benefits for individuals and for
Canada. Canada's future competitiveness depends critically on the skills our
children acquire - and literacy skills provide the foundation for other
learning. According to a recent TD Bank report, for every 1% increase in
Canada's average literacy scores, our annual GDP would increase by

    About the consultations:

    Individuals and organizations are welcome to apply to present at public
consultations via nselsubmission@cllrnet.ca no later than February 15, 2009.
Regional consultations will be held in the following cities during the first
three weeks in March:
    Regina, Edmonton, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, St.
John's, Halifax, Fredericton and Charlottetown.

    About The National Strategy for Early Literacy (NSEL)

    The National Strategy for Early Literacy (NSEL) is a cooperative,
Canada-wide initiative to improve the literacy skills of young Canadians. NSEL
engages a broad coalition of organizations and individuals to understand and
describe what can be done to improve literacy outcomes for young Canadians,
and to put these actions into practice. The conclusion of the NSEL process
will be a coherent, feasible, evidence-based national strategy for early
literacy, including a clear statement of activities required and of the
organizations that must take responsibility for these actions. The goal of the
NSEL initiative is to answer the question 'What would the profile of literacy
skills in Canadians look like if we got it all right?'

    About CLLRNet:

    The Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network (CLLRNet; The
Network) is a not-for-profit Canadian corporation dedicated to improving the
language, literacy and numeracy skills of Canadians. CLLRNet develops
evidence-based tools and resources relevant for policymakers, practitioners,
parents and educators concerned with increasing the literacy skills of
Canadian children. The Network promotes high quality applied research on the
literacy issues that are most important for Canada. CLLRNet is unique in
Canada and the world, as a mechanism for researchers, trainees and partners in
the policy, service delivery and knowledge exchange sectors to work together
on the common goal of improving literacy skills. For more information please
visit www.cllrnet.ca.

For further information:

For further information: Media Information: Melanie Slade,
Communications Officer, Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network, Tel:
(519) 850-2524, Email: melanie@cllrnet.ca; James McQueen, Lashbrook Marketing
& Public Relations, Tel: (519) 850-0115, Email: james@lashbrook.ca

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