Thousands of British Columbians do not possess the literacy skills needed to succeed, impacting everything from healthcare to employment.
In British Columbia, 40 per cent of adults have difficulty reading a newspaper, filling out a work application form, reading a bus schedule, or understanding a lease and close to 50 per cent of adults do not have the skills necessary to calculate a tip, create a budget or understand credit card interest rates.
Even more concerning is the fact that almost four in 10 youths aged 15 have insufficient reading skills, and 16 per cent of B.C. youths are not graduating from high school. These statistics have serious implications on society, as literacy rates impact every aspect of our lives: healthcare, education, crime rates, employment and economic status.
This month, Black Press and the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) are joining forces to raise funds and awareness about the importance of literacy with the 4th Annual Reach a Reader campaign. The campaign will culminate with community leaders and volunteers hitting the streets across the Columbia Basin and boundary to distribute special editions of local papers and collect donations in support of community-based literacy programs.
The Reach a Reader campaign coincides with Decoda Literacy Solutions’ inaugural Literacy is Life Campaign—a province-wide fundraising and awareness campaign designed to create a new, modern understanding of literacy and raise funds to ensure that community-based literacy programs across British Columbia can support the people who depend on them.
CBAL’s executive director, Ali Wassing, said, “We have been gratified to see the high level of support and enthusiasm for CBAL’s annual partnership with Black Press on the Reach a Reader campaign. This fall, in tandem with the launch of Decoda’s Literacy is Life provincial campaign and the hugely successful Raise-a-Reader campaign in the Lower Mainland we look forward to a banner year for literacy. For more information visit cbal.org.