Poor literacy skills decrease the chances of a healthy and productive life

The definition of literacy continues to be redefined as our society changes and grows. Being literate in the 21st century means having the ability to read, write and express critical thought through verbal, print, visual and digital formats. According to Statistics Canada, almost 50% of adults age 16 and older don’t have the literacy skills needed for today’s working world. Without proper literacy skills, things such as job applications, medication labels and basic signage can become inaccessible—decreasing the chances of a healthy and productive life. Well-rounded literacy skills allow people to function to their full capability.

Fast Facts

  • 25% of Canadian households do not own a single book.

  • Approximately 30% of Grade 3 students lack basic literacy skills.

  • Many schools in disadvantaged communities can only afford 1 new library book per year for every 3 students.
  • Poor educational outcomes are tied to poverty, unemployment, illness and crime.

The importance of literacy

According to the Council of Ministers of Education of Canada, “Investing in literacy is investing in people, productivity, and competitiveness, and will ultimately position Canada favourably in the global environment.”

By obtaining adequate literacy skills at a young age, children are equipped with the fundamental tools and confidence to help them reach their fullest potential and become well-rounded individuals. By honing these skills, they will be better equipped to perform in school and succeed in the real world, as they further their own careers while contributing to their communities and the world at large.

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