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Why Literacy Is So Important

Millions of adult Canadians have difficulty reading, writing or using numbers. This may cause them to have trouble finding jobs, reading to their children, participating fully in society and achieving their goals.

That's why the Peel Literacy Guild began providing free, one-n-one literacy tutoring to English-speaking adults in 1981. Since its inception over 5,000 adults have received literacy training through the Guild's programs.

Did you know one out of every five adults needs help with reading?

Literacy in Ontario

There are four literacy streams funded by the Literacy and Basic Skills Section of the Provincial Government: Anglophone, Deaf, Francophone, and Native. Each stream has a provincial umbrella organization that does research, advocacy and training.

Literacy services are delivered to 60,000 adult new readers by 200 organizations in the following sectors: school boards, colleges and community-based programs like the Guild. Each sector has a sectorial body that addresses literacy service delivery issues. Community Literacy Ontario is the sectorial body representing community-based programs such as the Guild. They do research and training to help community-based programs support volunteer tutors and program staff.

In addition to the umbrella groups and sectorial bodies, the province has a regional literacy infrastructure made up of Regional Networks. These organizations support local literacy planning and co-ordination. Literacy services in Peel are planned and co-ordinated by the Peel-Halton-Dufferin Adult Learning Network (PHDALN) of which the Guild is an active member.

  • Ontario has higher literacy levels than the national average. 55.8% of Ontario's adult population has sufficient literacy skills while the national average is 52.4%. In addition, Ontarians have higher numeracy skills than Canada as a whole: 57% versus 52%.
  • In Ontario, 20.2% of the adult population does not have basic literacy skills while a further 24% could be considered to have inadequate skills to meet changing labour market needs.
  • There is little difference in the Ontario results from LSUDA (1989) and IALS (1994).
  • As in all other jurisdictions, literacy levels in Ontario decline after age 45.
  • Most graduates of secondary school have achieved level 3 literacy.
  • Ontario's Francophone community has lower literacy results than the general population.
  • There is little difference in the Ontario results between men and women. Ontario females had higher results than men on the prose tests while males outperformed females in the document tasks. There was little difference in the quantitative tasks.
  • Employed Ontarians are more likely to have higher literacy results than those unemployed.

Source: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/training/
literacy/internation/internat.pdf