Literacy ‘the Soul of Growth in the 21st Century’

By Dale, Dave; Local Journalism Initiative Reporter | The Canadian Press, September 10, 2020 | Go to article overview

Literacy ‘the Soul of Growth in the 21st Century’


Dale, Dave, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Canadian Press


Learning to read, write and understand important issues saves lives and creates future opportunities, says Nanditta Colbear, executive director of the Literacy Alliance of West Nipissing.

“It goes far beyond learning. It provides hope,” Colbear said, explaining why her group worked hard to reopen in April just weeks into the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.

“We did not miss a beat” other than closing for a few weeks to gather information and create protocols, she said, noting staff were also quick to engage learners for coaching over the telephone and video conferencing. “Literacy means that much to our learners … it is their lifeline to positive outcomes.”

Colbear is featured in a new video sponsored by the Mid North Network of the Northern Literacy Alliance to help raise awareness about the free services agencies offer. There’s a naming contest for the production that offers a $250 gift card prize with submissions accepted via email until Sept. 21.

While they hope the video motivates someone online to improve their literacy skills, Colbear said they also want it to reach community leaders and potential funding sources to put more resources behind the cause.

The Literacy Alliance of West Nipissing provides one-on-one learning with about 100 learners served annually.

“There is no classroom service. Each person learns in their own way,” Colbear said, adding, “I cannot express enough the importance of this method of fostering independence, lifelong learning, and improved mental health. Literacy provides hope.”

In the video, Colbear puts modern literacy into perspective:

“Adult literacy today is about filtering information in a meaningful way, it's about critical thinking and problem-solving,” she says in the production about 2. …

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