Dollars and the Meaning of Literacy – The Rocky Mountain Goat

By Goat Staff

The Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) annual children’s book campaign is underway. This fall fundraising campaign helps CBAL deliver family literacy programs and services to 77 communities in the Columbia Basin and Borders.

“We know this is where it all begins where kids get excited about reading and learning,” a CBAL press release reads. “Literacy programs for children help build the basic skills needed for future learning, which, in turn, leads to greater success in life.”

A literate society is a prosperous society, according to Craig Alexander, Canadian economist and president of Alexander Economic Views.

Last spring, Alexander gave a presentation at the Decoda Literacy Conference in Richmond where he spoke about how low levels of literacy negatively impact our Canadian economy. As the world enters the post-pandemic state, the job market is changing. In Canada, jobs are becoming more technical, requiring literacy, numeracy and technology skills more than ever.

We need highly skilled workers, but many people cannot read and count, says Alexander. According to a 2012 report by the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, 48.5% of Canadians have literacy skills below desired levels and 54.7% have numeracy skills below necessary levels.

According to a recent report by the Canada West Foundation, increasing literacy rates by 1% could increase productivity by 5% and gross domestic product by 3%.

The implication is that the total return from improving literacy is worth billions to the economy.

Not only do people with good literacy and numeracy excel in the workplace, but they also enjoy better health outcomes and are more likely to experience equity and actively participate in their community. .

“Encouraging, promoting and providing lifelong learning opportunities is our contribution to building healthy and vibrant communities,” said CBAL CEO Desneiges Profili. “When people have strong literacy skills, they also have the tools to lead successful and meaningful lives for themselves and their families.”

Now in its 12th year, the Books for Kids campaign supports local and community family literacy programs.

Last year, over $50,000 was raised to support the delivery of hundreds of family literacy programs and purchase over 6,000 books and resources.

To support the Books for Kids campaign, you can donate online, buy literacy socks or order a ‘Love2Learn’ t-shirt. For more information, visit All funds raised in a community will stay in that community to support local family literacy initiatives.

Books for Kids is a collaborative effort between Black Press, Columbia Valley Pioneer and Rocky Mountain Goat Newspapers, Blue Sky Clothing Co. and Credit Unions throughout the Basin and Frontier.

About Shirley L. Kreger

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