Literacy opens doors

Literacy and learning can help strengthen families and strong families mean strong communities.

From a literacy campaign in Los Angeles aimed at increasing the reading skills of children emerged a quote that I believe sums up the importance of literacy: “No skill is more crucial to the future of a child, or to a democratic and prosperous society, than literacy.”

I’m a huge advocate for raising awareness about literacy and how it can improve the quality of a person’s life. Literacy opens doors to so many opportunities for people and is an invaluable life skill. Education and literacy can be a lifeline for people and every time someone chooses education, they are increasing their chances of personal success.

We are encouraged and taught the basics in school, but where does the learning really begin? It starts at home.

There is actually a National Family Literacy Day that falls on Jan. 27 that is dedicated to improving awareness and increasing supports for literacy. The theme is one I believe in — that parents are a child’s first and most important teacher when it comes to literacy.

And something to keep in mind is that it’s never too late to start reading or improving your literacy skills. There are many community courses and library supports to help people learn new skills and grow.

In fact, the Cariboo region just received $117,229 through the Community Adult Literacy Program to improve adult learners’ literacy and numeracy skills.

Literacy and learning can help strengthen families and strong families mean strong communities. So I encourage everyone to pick up a book, magazine, or newspaper and take some time to read each day or learn something new about literacy. They say practice makes perfect, so get practicing! You’ll be happy you did.

Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin.