Authors: Grant Johnston
This paper looks at whether an increase in the basic literacy skills of adults would have a positive effect on the New Zealand economy. It finds good evidence for the benefits of literacy: studies
consistently find that adults with better literacy skills are more likely to be employed, and to earn more, than those with poorer literacy skills, even when taking account of other factors which affect work performance.
There is little rigorous evidence, however, for the benefits of adult literacy training and almost no accompanying information on the costs of this training.
While there is a good case for an increased focus on adult literacy, and on workplace literacy in particular, these findings suggest a cautious approach to expanding publicly-funded adult literacy programmes.
There is a clear need for more and better New Zealand-based research, for piloting innovative literacy programmes and for undertaking good-quality evaluations. A modest increase in literacy training may not materially affect economic performance.
The International Adult Literacy Survey Results
In 1990, Statistics Canada released the results of the Survey of Literacy Skills Used in Daily Activities (LSUDA), a 1989 Canada-wide survey of the reading skills of adults. In 1992, the then Ontario Ministry of Education reported on the LSUDA results for Ontario (Stan Jones, Survey of Adult Literacy in Ontario).
Shortly after the release of the LSUDA results in Canada and those of the National Adult Literacy Survey in the United States, interest in a comparative international study of adult literacy began to grow. In December 1995, the first results of the 1994 survey of adult literacy in seven countries, the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS), were reported in Literacy, Economy and Society, a joint publication of Statistics Canada and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In September 1996, Statistics Canada released Reading the Future: A Portrait of Literacy in Canada, a report on the national data collected in IALS.
To measure literacy in IALS, respondents answered a set of test questions designed to measure adult reading skills as well as background questions about their education, work experience and literacy practices.
Ontario participated in the survey in order to gain key data to inform policy development and to focus its literacy programming. The present report covers in detail the IALS results for Ontario. It updates and supplements the previous report, Survey of Adult Literacy in Ontario. It is organized much as the previous report with a table, graph and commentary for each of the major literacy relationships. Throughout the text, shaded boxes provide background information. Usually the tables provide results for three scales -- prose, document and quantitative -- but the graphs are used to point to particularly interesting results in part of the data.
Pre-School to Adult
Authors: NWT Literacy Council
Over the years, many people have asked us to put together a package of information on Aboriginal literature that is suitable for different age groups. That task, however, is not particularly easy. An extensive array of material is available nowadays, but should it all be included in such a list?
Considerable debate surrounds what is sometimes called “appropriation of voice” – when a person, no matter how sympathetic, depicts someone from another culture. We can only say that we have tried our best to be selective, and appreciate any feedback that people might have about our list.
A Research Report and Action Plan
Authors: Nunavut Literacy Council
This paper presents the results of a research project conducted by the Nunavut Literacy Council in 2006 in order to identify barriers that face youth seeking employment in Nunavut. Researchers also examined ways to re-engage marginalized youth in education, employment and community life and looked at the extent that literacy is a barrier to youth employment in Nunavut. In addition to the results of interviews with focus groups, this report includes information from a review of scholarly, popular and government literature on the northern economy, employment trends, Inuit culture, approaches to work and learning, and history. An action plan with recommendations for employers, educators, government, communities and the literacy council is also presented.
The Black Youth Literacy Project is an initiative of the Toronto ALFA Centre, a community-based program that has been delivering literacy services to adults in the northwest corner of the City of Toronto since 1985. The aim of this project is to improve the educational engagement and self-concept of Black youth who have been turned off or let down by the regular education system and have left school; experience reading and writing difficulties; are either unemployed or underemployed; and are at risk of falling short of realizing their full potential.
The primary goal of this guide is to provide organizations, agencies and individual teachers with a framework and building blocks for creating programs that will: inspire a love of learning; and equip Black youth with the awareness, access and ability to further their education in whatever way they choose.
Series: WWestNet's The bottom line
This issue of the newsletter includes an account of a workshop addressing the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS)and its Canadian component. Another article deals with how reading and writing skills are applied in the construction industry. Other articles deal with a needs assessment carried out by the Alberta Restaurant and Foodservices Association; a program designed to introduce disadvantaged youth to skilled trades; an update on workplace literacy in the Northwest Territories; and a workplace literacy program initiated at a remote uranium mine site in Saskatchewan.
Series: WWestNet's The bottom line
This issue of the newsletter contains articles about the completion of a needs assessment of essential skills by the Construction Owners’ Association of Alberta; crossing cultural gaps with workers for whom English is a second language; and the establishment of WoodLINKS, a partnership between the British Columbia education system and the wood-products industry to increase awareness of careers in that field.
Other articles focus on a workplace education program in Saskatchewan’s mining sector; the formation of a professional association for workplace educators in Manitoba; and plans for a conference in British Columbia on plain language.
Series: WWestNet's The bottom line
This issue features an article on the movement by organized labour, particularly in western and northern Canada, to increase its role in providing basic education to working people. The goal is to see literacy become a tool for workers to effect social and economic change.
Other articles deal with efforts by the Alberta government to improve its apprenticeship programs; a Manitoba study of both common and sector-specific issues in emerging economic sectors; and a conference on workplace education hosted by ABC Canada.
"The Boys' and Girls' Literacy: Closing the Gap" project is unique in that it aims to develop strategies that would particularly have a positive impact on boys' literacy. This holds substantial merit in that the strategies and methodologies selected to address the literacy performance of boys would not disadvantage girls. These strategies included literature circles, male mentors, and providing boy-friendly reading materials. The researchers based these decisions on current research in the fields of literacy and reading; gender and literacy; psychology; and curriculum.
Authors: Thomas G. Sticht
In this article, the author discusses the data released in the 2005 National Center for Education Statistics showing 30 years of National Assessment of Educational progress.
The author suggests that it is time to acknowledge adult literacy to improve children's reading skills.