----Western Quebec Literacy Council tackling low-literacy levels with two new programs
In the hope of positively affecting English-speaking literacy levels in the region, the Western Quebec Literacy Council (WQLC) has launched two new free learning programs intended to benefit the youth and seniors in the community.
Announcing the new Reading Buddies program, a press release issued by the WQLC stated that the initiative was put in place in response to how the pandemic has impacted children, notably in terms of how they learn and communicate, and the resources at their disposal. “At a time when reading could provide a welcome distraction and a valuable opportunity to build literacy skills, the need to support young readers is more important than ever,” said WQLC representative Michèle Gagnon in a press release.
Funded by Les Alliances pour la solidarité, the Ministère du travail, de l’emploi et de la solidarité sociale, Gagnon explained that the program will initially be deployed in five schools in western Quebec – St-John’s Elementary in Campbell’s Bay, Shawville’s McDowell Elementary School, Dr. Wilbert Keon School in Chapeau, Onslow Elementary in Quyon, and Chelsea Elementary. The pilot project, to be launched in July, plans on seeing participants and volunteers connect virtually for reading sessions and will initially target a very small pool of students.
The program will see the WQLC working with the respective schools to identify certain students struggling with reading or lacking enthusiasm for it, and connecting them with their very own trained volunteer Reading Buddy. It will mostly target grade one and two students, emphasizing the importance of building a solid foundation of reading skills, Gagnon said. To support families of children in the program and further promote reading, the WQLC also intends on hosting homework help workshops, providing resources and donating books to participants.
--Digital literacy for seniors, Aylmer workshops
With the internet becoming increasingly important for connecting with people as a result of the pandemic, the WQLC has launched a Digital Literacy pilot project intended to get more seniors comfortable with being online. A lot of them are looking to connect digitally with family members,” Gagnon said. “Many of them have low computer skills and not a lot of confidence.”
Funded by the Ministère de l’éducation, WQLC plans to host a series of in-person workshops aimed at increasing low literacy levels for English-speaking seniors and other adults in the region. The pilot project will be to establish a guide indicating the best practices to facilitate digital literacy programs and to evaluate the need for and sustainability of a long-term program in the region.
While the six-week workshops being held in Shawville from March to April are fully booked, Gagnon stated that the sessions in Aylmer going from May to June still have limited spots available. Those interested in participating are invited to contact the WQLC.