The Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) hosted a Community Wide Literacy Planning Event in Golden on March 5, bringing members of the community who deal with literacy together, to talk about the community’s assets and needs.
“If someone is struggling with literacy, it can affect their whole life, and even their health,” said Betty Knight, CBAL regional manager. “It’s just pervasive.”
Literacy is most commonly associated with reading and writing, but it also includes comprehension, communication, and creativity.
“It’s no longer can they read or can’t they,” said Knight.
Golden has several assets contributing to the overall literacy of the community, and helping those struggling with it.
Starting out young, CBAL offers many programs including One to One Reading, Homework Help, and tutoring. The Early Childhood Development Coalition gets kids started with pre-literacy skills with their hugely popular Mother Goose Program which uses singing and rhyming.
For adults struggling with literacy, the College of the Rockies has several programs available, including skills upgrading classes, fundamental development programs, and even art classes that help expand your creative literacy. CBAL also offers many support programs for adults struggling with literacy, and the Women’s Resource Centre is also hosting a journaling group.
A major struggle for those providing literacy services to adults is getting them to take the help for what can be delicate problem.
Service providers have found that very few people are willing to admit they have poor literacy, and that they need to find other ways to get them into these programs. That is why it is not always explicitly stated that certain programs are aimed at people with low literacy rates. It is referred to as “literacy by stealth” when they sneak these lessons into other programs.
Although there are a lot of assets in Golden, there are always gaps that need to be filled. A computer literacy used to be offered through CBAL, and since it was removed it has been missed. CBAL is conducting these planning events throughout the region, and is taking the feedback to incorporate in future plans.