Rising concerns over literacy rates in Canada

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Rising concerns over literacy rates in Canada
WATCH ABOVE: Angie Seth speaks to Tom Best with First Books Canada on what needs to be done to make reading an everyday practice in all Canadian households – Sep 15, 2017

Reading is often taken for granted as a common practice with all families, but according to the latest statistics from First Book Canada a quarter of Canadian households don’t even own a single book.

“That statistic, 25 per cent, is a big number and it has nothing to do with the digital revolution. It has to the with the inability of parents to be able to afford books,” Tom Best from First Books Canada told Global News.

“There are a number of reasons and barriers for kids that just don’t get that kind of day-to-day exposure to books.”

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Figures also show around 30 per cent of Grade 3 students lack basic literacy skills.

On Sept. 8, Canada marked International Literacy Day. The day highlights the need of getting children to read and the importance of getting them access to books inside the classroom and at home.

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In May, First Books Canada partnered up with McDonald’s Canada to distribute over two million books with Happy Meals across the country to help give kids access to books.

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“That’s a fantastic opportunity for parents to sit down, read at McDonald’s or back at home, and to sit down and read with kids because that is really what is missing,” Best said.

“Kids need to see this modelled in their lives … one of the key things is encouraging kids to read what they want to read. Introduce subjects and books you know they are keen on. If you’ve got a kid who is interested in sports, then introduce them to sports books because you know you have a built-in audience for that.”

According to Statistics Canada, 29 per cent of individuals with low literacy levels are from low-income households compared to eight per cent of individuals who are ranked in the highest two categories of literacy.

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