British Columbians of all ages now have more opportunities to help develop their reading and writing skills in the Vancouver Sun’s annual Raise-a-Reader campaign.
People can participate in fun, virtual and in-person community-based literacy programs, thanks to a $500,000 provincial government investment in the campaign.
“We know reading encourages curiosity, stimulates imaginations and fosters life-long learning,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “The innovative literacy programs offered by Raise-A-Reader organizations are making a difference in the lives of B.C. families. These programs are helping to build and expand language skills so our children can grow and succeed during their school years and beyond.”
The 2020 Vancouver Sun’s Raise-a-Reader week 2020 will run from Sept. 18-25. The annual, week-long campaign supports literacy by increasing awareness and raising money to fund community-based programs throughout B.C. This campaign highlights the importance of literacy development when families read, play and learn together.
Some of the literacy programs offered in B.C. communities include: book walks, parent-child Mother Goose programs, Books for Babies, family language carnivals, parent-child reading workshops (Come Read with Me), one-on-one tutoring, book purchases, literacy kits and writing workshops for youth. The programs are offered in a variety of settings including parks, community centres, libraries and schools.
This year on Sept. 22, Decoda Literacy Solutions has created a team trivia challenge where British Columbians can donate, join a team and play trivia online through Zoom, Google Hangouts, Facebook messenger or text message.
Examples of B.C. community programs that benefit from Raise-a-Reader funds include:
- Castlegar - The Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy co-ordinated the funds to support programs like Mother Goose with the Circle of Indigenous Nations Society: stories, rhymes, songs and cultural teachings were offered, as well as a chance to meet other parents and Elders in the community.
- Quesnel - The Literacy Society used Raise-a-Reader funds for five programs, including community storytelling sessions where parents, caregivers and children attended nine, two-hour interactive sessions to learn age-appropriate storytelling and craft-making skills.
- Kamloops - The Comfort, Play, Teach program was held at Kamloops Immigrant Services, a family literacy program that builds literacy skills and family connections.
- Lower Mainland - The Canucks for Kids Education Centre used Raise-a-Reader funds for the Get Ready 2 Read (GR2R) program. The GR2R program is a child- and-adult-focused family literacy program, delivered in several settings and locations in partnership with Britannia Community Services Centre and Edmonds and Maywood Community schools in Vancouver.
“Raise-a-Reader helps children and families across B.C. develop the literacy skills they need to succeed at home, at school and in the community,” said Margaret Sutherland, executive director, Decoda Literacy Solutions. “And today, literacy matters more than ever. We are grateful to the Province of B.C. for its ongoing support for Raise-a-Reader and to the many individual donors who support the campaign each year.”
Raise-a-Reader was launched by the Vancouver Sun in 1997. Since 2009, the total provincial investment is nearly $6 million in support of literacy programs offered through public libraries, Indigenous organizations, community literacy organizations, schools and family resource centres. The government’s $500,000 investment flows through Decoda Literacy Solutions, the only provincewide literacy organization in B.C., to community programs throughout the province.
“The Vancouver Sun’s Raise-a-Reader program recognizes that literacy is a critical tool in helping to lift children and families out of poverty,” said Harold Munro, editor-in-chief, Vancouver Sun. "We are grateful to the provincial government and commend them for, once again, joining with us in this campaign to improve lives across B.C. Their generous donation and the many contributions from other institutions and Sun readers, truly make a difference.”
- Since 1997, the campaign has raised more than $18 million for literacy initiatives in B.C.
- During the annual Raise-a-Reader Week, the campaign features daily stories in the Vancouver Sun’s print and online editions highlighting community literacy programs.
- This year, people can donate to the campaign through the Canada Helps website, supported by the Decoda Literacy Foundation.
- Last year, over 17,500 children, parents and caregivers attended 3,500 family literacy sessions made possible with support from Raise-a-Reader, in addition to thousands of books and learning materials distributed to family literacy programs, schools and libraries around B.C.
To donate to the 2020 Raise-a-Reader campaign, visit: www.raise-a-reader.com
Decoda Literacy Solutions and Foundation: https://www.decoda.ca/support-us/events/raise-a-reader-month/
Sept. 22 Decoda Literacy Solutions team trivia Information: https://www.decoda.ca/support-us/ways-to-support/