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Edmonton, AB T5K 0M1
(780) 421-7323
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"I believe with all my heart that every person in the world is entitled to the gift of literacy. We must provide that gift to the best of our ability, for doing so ensures our humanity and makes possible the realization of a more nearly perfect world."

Scott Momaday,
UNESCO Artist for Peace,
writer, painter, and
Pulitzer Prize Winner for Fiction

Building Essential Skills

Joe came to the Centre in September of last year. He wanted to get his class four ticket in Power Engineering. Joe told the staff at the Centre that math was his problem – not reading. Brett, a young engineering student, became Joe’s tutor and they worked together for several months. Brett soon realized it wasn’t so much the math as the reading comprehension that was the problem for Joe.

Joe and his tutor Brett changed their focus and began working on reading skills. “Brett is a wonderful tutor, he helped Joe so much – gave him confidence” commented Joe’s wife. The other day Joe took a course through work and got 25/28 on the exam. According to his wife, “he never would have taken a course at work before because he was so afraid of the test at the end.”

Joe is representative of about one-quarter of workers in the Canadian labour force. On the International Literacy Survey, they would score at a high Level 2 or low Level 3. At this level, they can read but their proficiency makes it difficult for them to face new demands, such as learning new job skills. A Conference Board of Canada report states, “Improving the literacy skills of this group could have a significant impact on productivity, innovation, quality, labour market outcomes, income and lifelong learning.”

A recent Toronto Dominion Bank Report states “Canada is losing billions of dollars to poor literacy and numeracy.” Craig Alexander, TD Bank’s deputy chief economist went on to say

An increase in literacy of 1% would mean a $32 billion increase in national income . . . three times the return on investment in machinery.

We know that only 10% of the adults needing help are participating in literacy programs. As a leader in the literacy field, the Centre’s programs are striving to increase that percentage by encouraging individuals and families to participate at many points in their lives.

Flexibility and adaptability are the watchwords of our programs and Joe’s experience demonstrates how this can lead to success. Joe wanted help with his math and in the end he received a whole lot more.

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