Read For Life Literacy Initiative
Read for Life is an exciting three year literacy program initiated by The National Chapter of Canada IODE in 2005. IODE embraced a newspaper challenge “to make Canada the most literate nation in the world”. It encouraged its members across Canada to launch their own literacy projects during IODE Awareness Week, October 29th to November 5th, 2005.
Studies on early learning state, “the early years, from birth to age six, have the most important influence at any time in the life cycle on brain development and subsequent learning behaviour.” In the first year, Read for Life focused on literacy for children from birth to six years of age. In the second year, children from seven to fourteen years of age were the target, and in the third year, youth to adults benefit from the Read for Life Program.
The Education Committee of The National Chapter has recommended that Read for Life continue as a vital education program of IODE in the coming years.
It is with appreciation that we thank Jane Venus, Manager of Children and Youth Services of the Ottawa Public Library, and her staff for compiling recommended book lists for IODE.
It’s Never Too Early to read to a child. An Early Years Study by one provincial government states that “it is clear that the early years of a child, from birth to age six, have the most important influence of any time in the life cycle on brain development and subsequent learning behaviour and health”.
Numerous studies confirm that reading to infants not only boosts speech and language development, but overall intelligence as well. By the time children are two years old, they understand 300 to 500 words. Children who have larger vocabularies are better readers. A child who cannot read has very few options for the future.
Some Facts About Non-Readers
More than 20% of high school graduates lack the literacy skills needed for entry- level jobs. 9 million Canadians, age 16 to 65 (12 million of Canadians over 65 are included), score below the desirable threshold of literacy performance, according to a 2003
Statistics Canada report. That means, the lack of reading skills is holding them back in the workplace: 3.2 million can’t read a job application, medicine bottle, an election ballot or their child’s report card. (Toronto Star 10 Oct 2006), and fail to comply with medical directions and errors in administration of infant formula. People with low literacy skills are twice as likely to be unemployed and up to 50 per cent of adults with low literacy skills live in low-income households. Literacy problems cost Canadians $10 billion per year!
Focus on Literacy
The ideas are plentiful and whether it is a one-time only or on-going project, IODE chapters across Canada support the goal of making Canada the most literate nation in the world. IODE literacy projects across Canada have been supported with:
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IODE Canada is a registered Canadian charity
and we welcome donations in any amount to support the good work of our organization.
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