Opinion Letters

Letter: Literacy is the best remedy

I often hear people complain when it rains. For me, a rainy day is an opportunity to curl up with a good book. The story will transport me to a new setting with interesting characters. I will feel that I have escaped the rain for a new and exciting place. But what if I was unable to read? I think I would be lost and sad. I can only imagine the frustration I would feel completing an application form if I was unable to read.

Canada celebrates National Literacy and Numeracy Week Sept. 4 to 10. The aim is to draw attention to the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies.

The Conference Board of Canada states that four out of 10 Canadian adults have literacy skills too low to be fully competent in most jobs in our modern economy. Low literacy skills impede a business’s ability to compete. Literacy skills affect productivity, innovation, and bottom-line results. Employees who hold these skills are rewarded with better earnings and quality of life.

So, how do we ensure all Canadians have and maintain a more-than-adequate level of literacy? Parents can start by reading to their children. By listening to a story, children learn how words correspond with illustrations, how to read with expression, and develop a rich vocabulary. As children age, encourage them to read to the adult. Visit the library regularly and participate in the various programs available for youth and adults. Own a library card. Money, or lack thereof, should not preclude one from reading. Encourage your children to stay in school or adults to take courses to upgrade their skills. Learning is a life-long venture.

Literacy is not just a gift or privilege. It is a fundamental life skill, an indispensable necessity to master one’s future.

Karen Thorington

Chair, Canadian Federation of University Women Orillia advocacy committee

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