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Community groups gather on International Literacy Day, September 8
September 5, 2023 (Calgary, AB) — On Friday, September 8, public organizations and community leaders committed to child literacy are gathering for A Case for Action on Literacy in Alberta, a special event at Central Library to draw attention to the work of Left Unread and the ongoing need for action and support.
September 8 is International Literacy Day and this event is intended as a platform for community leaders and literacy advocates to draw attention to the impacts of low literacy on children and our communities. An opportunity to talk about challenges and paths forward, the event is hosted by Calgary Public Library in partnership with Left Unread, an initiative of the 369 Leaders Table.
“The Left Unread initiative is a great example of how our community comes together around important issues. More than one million children in Canada have below-grade-level reading skills and we have to work together to find solutions for our community to ensure that no child is left unread,” says Mayor Jyoti Gondek.
The event begins at 9:30 am (MDT) at the Patricia A. Whelan Performance Hall at Central Library (800 3 Street SE, Calgary). Following opening remarks from Mayor Gondek, CBC’s Elise Stolte will moderate a discussion on literacy issues in the community with panelists: Principal Bella Eagletail, Chiila Elementary School, Tsuut'ina Department of Education; Sarah Meilleur, CEO, Calgary Public Library; and Joanne Pitman, Superintendent of School Improvement, Calgary Board of Education.
“Literacy helps people get where they want to go. We know that low childhood literacy leads to difficult pathways and is connected to mental health struggles, low civic engagement, and even more negative outcomes like poverty, homelessness, and incarceration. This is why we need to come together as a community to make sure no child is left unread,” says Jaclyn Silbernagel, Associate Director of Community Engagement, Vibrant Communities Calgary.
Calgary Public Library sees the impact of post-pandemic learning loss in children across the city and is one of the community groups supporting the Left Unread initiative.
“The Library has always provided early literacy supports, but today we’re seeing increases of learning loss for children of all ages and greater supports required for adult learners. We’re proud to work with our partners to issue this call for awareness and ensure that no child is left behind and that everyone can realize their potential,” says Sarah Meilleur, CEO, Calgary Public Library.
The Left Unread initiative launched in Spring 2023 to draw attention to literacy concerns in the province and connect community groups with shared interests. The initiative was timed to coincide with the release of The Case for Literacy in Alberta Report by the Canada West Foundation. Below are some of the community organizations supporting the initiative and ongoing work around childhood literacy and learning:
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