Literacy is the “ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts”.(UNESCO)
The South Island Literacy website includes information and resources from four South Vancouver Island regions: Victoria, Saanich Peninsula, Westshore and the Sooke Region. Within each of these communities there is a literacy task group that works collaboratively to identify ways to build community capacity and improve literacy.
For many years in British Columbia there has been a focus on literacy in communities. This approach is based on an understanding that literacy is everyone’s responsibility and too big a job for one industry. We make the greatest gains by working together and pooling our resources and experience.
In 2004, 2010 Legacies Now launched the Literacy Now Communities program which supports the development of community literacy task groups to discuss, plan and take action for literacy development across the lifespan. Today, Decoda Literacy Solutions, BC’s literacy non-profit, provides resources, training and funds through the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, to support community-based literacy and learning initiatives in over 400 communities and to 102 Task Groups across British Columbia.
The Community Task Group
Each region has a Task Group committee made up of community representatives who think about and initiate actions to support and promote life-long literacy. Because literacy is directly linked to the well-being and growth of individuals and communities, task group members recognize the importance of literacy as a community building tool and a strategy for supporting economic, social, health and educational goals. To support literacy effectively, the Task Group focuses on strategic thinking around gaps, assets and collaborative efforts that will bring about potential solutions. Some of the questions Task Group members ask include:
• Where are the literacy gaps and opportunities in our community?
• What can we contribute to a possible solution?
• What is the best thing that we can do for people in our community?
If you would like to become a member of the Literacy Task Group in your community, please contact the Literacy Outreach Coordinator.
The Literacy Outreach Coordinator
Each region also has a Literacy Outreach Coordinator (LOC) to carry out the actions identified by the task group through the community literacy plan. The LOC is involved in:
- Providing leadership, facilitation and support to the community literacy task group;
- Identifying literacy needs and issues in the community;
- Supporting community groups engaged in the provision of literacy programs and services;
- Encouraging broad community representation, participation and leadership for literacy;
- bringing an understanding about the relationship of literacy to various sectors of the community
Community Literacy Plans
The community literacy plan is one of the tools to support the process of literacy development throughout the community. It provides information about how community partners are working together to improve literacy. These plans are part of a provincial strategy to improve literacy skills and encourage lifelong learning for all British Columbians.
Visit ‘In your Community‘ to learn more about what is going on in your area.