The province has announced annual funding totals for adult literacy programs in the Northwest, guaranteeing nearly $30,000 to a program offered by the Literacy Terrace Society.
However the society’s executive director, Murray George, says while he’s grateful for the province’s sizable contribution to the program, he would need roughly $20,000 more to operate at the ideal capacity. To fill the void for the Community Reader and Writers Program, he’s put out a call for more volunteer tutors.
“Even this past summer, I had to lay myself off for a few months due to lack of funding,” George said. “Fortunately some of our tutors carried on, those that were available.”
The provincial funding maxes out at $40,000, but George says $30,000 is about average for what they receive annually. Literacy Terrace partnered with Coast Mountain College for the funding, who received a total of $299,180 to distribute among 11 adult literacy program partners throughout the Northwest.
Literacy Terrace uses trained volunteer tutors to help adults improve their reading and writing skills. These people often are either unemployed, employed seasonally in manual-labour type jobs, or basic entry-level jobs.
“Too many people are struggling with daily living tasks because of limited literacy and numeracy skills,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “Literacy matters because it impacts all areas of our lives. Investing in community-based adult literacy programs gives people the skills and confidence to thrive — and even form the first step on the pathway to higher education or skills training.”
Adult literacy programs in the northwest region of the province are giving people the reading, writing, math and computer skills needed to understand household budgets, join in community activities and help their children with their homework.
“There are many reasons people did not learn adequate reading and writing skills in school,” George said. “Sometimes they moved homes often, especially during the school year where the new school was teaching reading skills in a different way than in the student’s prior school. This meant that they missed some of the key strategies needed in reading. Sometimes the student had a chronic illness that impacted their time in school. They may have had bad experiences in school which discouraged them from learning. Often reading was not encouraged at home; perhaps their parents did not read well either.
“Learning to read and write is a process, and if the student misses some of what has often been described as pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, they do learn to read somewhat, but do not become fluent readers and often choose not to read and may not read well enough for the demands of work.”
George said those interested in tudoring do not require experience is not needed, free training is provided. Tutors will spend one or two hours with one learner and can expect to spend an equal amount of time preparing their lessons.
People can contact Literacy Terrace at 778 634-2446 for more information.