19Jan 21

Strong Families Create Strong Communities

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READ Saskatoon is a local literacy organization that offers literacy programs to adults and families. Our strengths are program delivery in adult, family, and financial literacy, training facilitators, outcomes, results, strong processes, diversified funding, and strong community relationships. We work with over 3,000 people per year.

Every day we witness the opportunities that are unlocked through our programs and see how literacy strengthens the bonds within families. We see how literacy unlocks potential in communities throughout Saskatoon and we want to help unlock that potential throughout our province.

“This program has made our family sit and read. My son can sit for longer and is even listening better than he used to. We left our books in Nigeria and you gave us our first book since moving to Canada.” (Parent, Romp ‘n’ READ, 2018)

As the Government of Saskatchewan has rightly noted, “Literacy and learning are keys to employment, higher wages, better social and health outcomes, and active participation in society.”

READ Saskatoon’s family literacy programs benefit all members of the family – children and adults alike – in reaching their full potential at school and in the workplace. Families build our communities and province, and literacy builds families.

According to the National Early Literacy Strategy (NELS) by the Canadian Language & Literacy Research Network, high quality early learning programs improve children’s language and literacy skills, readiness for school, and early school performance. They also improve long-term educational and occupational outcomes. Finally, they reduce incidences of delinquency, contact with the justice system, and the need for remedial and special education services, while increasing graduation rates and employment prospects.

Given Saskatchewan’s growing and diverse population, these commitments are more important than ever. As the government’s plan outlines, since 2008, the number of children aged four and younger in Saskatchewan has increased by almost 25 percent. According to the 2006 census, approximately 30 percent of these children are First Nations and Métis. Many are New Canadian children. For every increase of 100 children in the province, 44 are New Canadians. Almost 10,000 New Canadian children aged one to nine arrived in Saskatchewan between 2008 and 2014.

READ Saskatoon is fully supportive of the Government of Saskatchewan’s literacy commitments. Indeed, the province’s plans dovetail with our own mandate and the work we undertake in our community every day. Some of the key pillars in Saskatchewan’s Early Years Plan (Healthy Beginnings, Early Learning, Strong Families, and Healthy Children) also reflect our priorities. READ Saskatoon can be a strong partner in the delivery of these much-needed programs in Saskatoon, and the province at large. We have a 40-year history to prove it.

READ Saskatoon has a stellar reputation as a local literacy organization that offers free literacy services to adults and families. This is demonstrated through the quantifiable results of our program successes, as well as the experiences of families that access our programming and the positive relationships they develop.

Since 1979, the organization has provided adult tutoring services with the help of trained volunteers and community partners. Our services have significantly broadened over the years to meet the ever-changing literacy needs of our community. Today, with the commitment of hundreds of volunteers, donors, and corporate partners we offer free adult, family, and financial literacy programs, as well as literacy facilitator training and resources. Grounded in programming expertise, we are Saskatchewan’s family literacy experts– delivering results, creating opportunities, and changing lives in our communities.

Emerging literacy skills are the foundation for reading success. Oral language development, vocabulary, book language, phonological, and print awareness are all part of early learning literacy (Ghoting, 2014). Family literacy programs also support and strengthen engagement between children and parents and set the foundation for lifelong learning. Strong families create strong communities. And this is why READ Saskatoon’s community-based family literacy programs are so invaluable. Having access to this type of programming not only improves children’s language and literacy skills, readiness for school, and early school performance – it also helps their parents.

As Saskatchewan’s Early Years Plan states, “Making sure all children get a good start in life leads to a better quality of life for Saskatchewan people. It reduces the risk of poverty and improves school readiness, health and wellness. It also reduces employment and education gaps…”

READ Saskatoon is that good start.