“Community literacy involves the development of literacy and learning skills for any individual or group of individuals outside of the formal education system. It is learning that happens in the context of home and community, and it happens as a collective approach.”
British Columbia is made up of hundreds of diverse communities; the community approach to literacy is based on an understanding that literacy is everyone’s responsibility, because no one person or organization can or should handle the responsibility alone. It takes literacy organizations, service providers, businesses, municipal governments and other community leaders working together at the community level to identify and address literacy needs and priorities and set in motion plans to create positive change.
What are community literacy programs?
Community literacy programs integrate literacy in various aspects of community life. Generally, community members determine what literacy programs will best suit the needs of people in the community. Programs may include workshops, seminars, and one-time events that provide information and raise awareness about the importance of literacy. They may include those that are specifically for youth and seniors, as well as supports to children in school or after school.
Examples of community literacy programs are volunteer tutors who read with children at school, summer reading programs, and breakfast programs for youth. See our Youtube playlist for videos about community literacy. Family and adult literacy programs may be considered part of community literacy work when they are offered outside of formal systems of learning.
“The Community Literacy Program is an important model for creating partnerships and broadening community engagement around literacy and learning opportunities in communities.” – Victor Glickman, Vancouver, B.C.
What Decoda does to support community literacy
We support 102 Literacy Outreach Coordinators who work with Community Task Groups representing 400 communities across British Columbia. Task groups are made up of representatives from various community organizations, including libraries, family resource programs, employment agencies, the business community, the K-12 system and literacy organizations.Through the Community Literacy Planning Process, these groups identify local literacy priorities, assess strengths and weaknesses, set goals and implement actions.
Fundraising & Awareness:
We work with donors and our partners in business and government to provide funding to support literacy programs and organizations across the province. We also help communities raise awareness about the importance of literacy for all British Columbians through two community engagement campaigns: Literacy is Life and Family Literacy Week.