BC Government Provides $500,000 for Literacy Campaign

NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
2012EDUC0089-001379
Sept. 20, 2012

Ministry of Education

Read all about it: $500,000 for B.C. literacy campaign

VANCOUVER - The BC government is providing $500,000 in support of literacy and this year's Raise-a-Reader campaign, Education Minister Don McRae announced today.

This morning, McRae also took to the streets of downtown Vancouver with hundreds of other volunteers to raise awareness of literacy by selling special editions of the Vancouver Sun. Proceeds from today's newspaper sales will go to the Raise-a-Reader campaign to support community-based literacy initiatives. Similar Raise-a-Reader events were also held yesterday in Victoria, Prince George, Kamloops, Penticton, Port Alberni and Kelowna.

Funds raised through the annual Raise-a-Reader campaign play an important role in supporting literacy programs that help BC families. Since 2004, the Province has invested more than $5 million in support of Raise-a-Reader, including the investment announced today.

Decoda Literacy Solutions - BC's provincial literacy organization - has partnered with the Vancouver Sun to support the Raise-a-Reader campaign. Decoda will be responsible for distributing the Province's $500,000 Raise-a-Reader contribution to literacy organizations throughout BC.

To further enhance literacy this year, the BC Education ministry also appointed Maureen Dockendorf as BC's new superintendent of reading and has dedicated $10.7 million in increased funding to strengthen early reading strategies and practices across all school districts.

Since 2001, the Province has invested more than $1.5 billion in literacy and literacy-related initiatives, including pre-literacy and early learning programs.

Quotes:

Don McRae, Minister of Education -
"As a father to two young children, like all parents, I value the importance of literacy. Not only does it encourage lifelong learning, it will also open doors for more diverse jobs, higher incomes and future education options. Through continuing investments in literacy programs, our government is committed to ensuring that more British Columbians are able to live fuller lives through improved literacy."

Brenda Le Clair, CEO, Decoda Literacy Solutions -
"Decoda Literacy Solutions is so pleased to partner with the Vancouver Sun, Postmedia and the Province of British Columbia to support family literacy programs all across the province. The Raise-a-Reader campaign continues to make a big difference to communities in BC."

Jamie Pitblado, VP of Promotions & Community Investment, Pacific Newspaper Group -
"The Vancouver Sun Raise-a-Reader campaign was created to empower today's children and families with tools to improve their reading skills. Our partner beneficiaries, Decoda Literacy Solutions, Canucks for Education Centre and the Vancouver Public Library Foundation, ensure important literacy programs are available to everyone so these skills can be acquired. Another partner we'd like to acknowledge and thank is the BC government for their continuous support for our campaign and for being a partner in fighting illiteracy in our community."

Quick Facts:

* More than one million adults in British Columbia struggle to read a restaurant menu or a bus schedule and lack the skills necessary to read a newspaper or fill out a job application.
* Recognizing the continued importance and challenge of early reading, the Ministry of Education has made reading in kindergarten to Grade 3 a primary focus for the 2012-13 school year. This includes identifying best practices and supporting school district efforts to help struggling readers.
* Decoda Literacy Solutions is B.C.'s provincial literacy organization. In 2011, Literacy BC merged with the literacy department of 2010 Legacies Now to become Decoda Literacy Solutions. Decoda supports literacy and learning in communities throughout BC.

Learn More:

* Ministry of Education - About Literacy: http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/pls/aboutliteracy.htm
* Decoda Literacy Solutions: http://decoda.ca
* Postmedia Raise-a-Reader: www.raiseareader.com

Contact:

Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Education
250.356.5963

Connect with the Province of BC at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect

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