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Literacy matters

If you can read the words on this page you probably don’t realize the struggle for some people to decipher and understand the content of the newspaper.

While someone is still in their early school days their literacy issues can be identified and there are resources to assist them in improve those skills. But what happens when you leave the school system and you still struggle with putting words or sentences together.

According to the Canadian Literacy and Learning Network, 42 per cent of Canadian adults between the ages of 16 and 65 have low literacy skills. The impacts of struggling with literacy go beyond the classroom.

Additional statistics indicate that 55 per cent of working age adults in this country have less than adequate health literacy skills. How can people be advocates for their own health and the health of their family members if they don’t understand (for example) instructions for prescription dosage or details related to health appointments?

Do you think your literacy level would impact your ability to secure employment? Of course it does. Less than 20 per cent of people with the lowest literacy skills are employed. There are not too many jobs out there today that don’t require a certain level of literacy to function in the workplace.

Across the country literacy issues are a concern for many people. Even in our own communities, there are people who just get by with the literacy skills they have. Thankfully there is help out there.

As reported in today’s edition of The Pilot, the Lewisporte chapter of the Laubach Literacy Council is making a difference in providing a tutoring program for adults to improve not only reading and writing skills, but also speaking, listening, numeracy and other related literacy skills.

As adults, it’s not always easy to ask for help. But doing so is not a sign of weakness. There is great strength in taking the steps to better your own set of circumstances. There are people in our communities working to conquer their literacy issues, and they are doing it with a fierce determination to prove to themselves that they can do it. The successes they are experiencing prove that it’s never too late to learn.

Anyone interested in becoming a tutor or would like to be tutored contact Mabel Trenholm at 535-0615 or by email at

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