PALS in Immigrant Communities

Building strong communities across British Columbia

One of the unique ways that we support community development through literacy and learning is our IPALS program or Parents as Literacy Supporters in Immigrant Communities. The program is a culturally responsive family literacy program designed to help immigrant and refugee families – and their young children – flourish in their new communities. Families learn new strategies to support their young children’s literacy development and the benefits are far-reaching.

IPALS Research

IPALS is based on considerable research and discourse about the importance of family, community and social contexts for learning. The research clearly demonstrates that the more literacy knowledge children possess upon school entry, the more likely they are to be successful in learning to read and write and to be successful in school.

We currently offer IPALS in Punjab, Mandarin, Vietnamese and Karen, Farsi, and other languages.

– IPALS online resources can be found here.
– Download the research report from our successful pilot project here.


– Children develop language and literacy abilities that will help them adapt to their community and gain skills that will prepare them for school.
– Family members learn to support their children’s learning and literacy.
– Families are welcomed into their neighbourhood schools and build relationships with teachers, administrators, and other school personnel.
– Families build social networks with each other.
– Frequent examples of gains have been documented in the Service Reports for the pilot programs in B.C.


IPALS  is part of the PALS program (Parents As Literacy Supporters) developed in 2000 by Fiona Morrison, formerly with Decoda Literacy Solutions, and Dr. Jim Anderson, University of British Columbia

Alongside 2010 Legacies Now/LIFT, we have offered IPALS since January, 2008. Over the six years of delivery at eight sites (seven different communities and school districts), over 700 families from 22 countries of origin and 14 language groups attended over 250 sessions. The program in BC has been funded by the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, which renewed the contract for delivery in BC until March of 2014. Currently, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is funding IPALS and private donors are allowing the program to expand to additional sites throughout the province.

We would like to thank the Government of British Columbia for their longstanding support of the PALS program.