Dyan Semple, Community Adult Learning & Literacy Society Fort Saskatchewan and Strathcona County

1 1 28 August 2018

We are starting the new year off with a Blog submission from Dyan Semple, Coordinator at Community Adult Learning & Literacy Society Fort Saskatchewan & Strathcona County.

I hope you all had a lovely and enjoyable summer!

I’m writing this blog to share an exciting September campaign that the members of Literacy Works have been planning for the last several months.

Literacy Works is a networking and collaborating group of practitioners from six Edmonton-area literacy organizations. Although we have ongoing discussion/commiseration meetings, each year the group makes a cooperative push for literacy awareness in September (to coincide with International Literacy Day – September 8). In previous years, we have coordinated book giveaways, public story gatherings, mayoral designations, and newspaper editorials. We also have a joint referral website at literacyworks.ca. This year we are collaborating on a social media strategy. 

Beginning Labour Day (September 3), each organization will post a sourced literacy fact and associated image on Facebook and Twitter, every weekday in September. We’ll all be posting the same image/fact combination using the hashtag #literacyworks, and will all "'like" each other’s posts. Ideally, our local networks will reinforce each other to increase the odds that any given fact will be seen. Any members of the public who comment will be referred to the literacyworks.ca website - after their questions are answered, of course!

The posts will each follow one of the four weekly themes: health, family, poverty, and community inclusion. Although we had initially thought to use four areas of foundational learning, we realized that to connect with other social support organizations, as well as the public, we needed to use the language of their priorities. In addition, using these themes makes it very clear that literacy struggles are an underlying root cause of critical challenges that adults face in the rest of their lives.

It was also important to the committee that each of the facts have an available, reputable source. Many of the sources are organizations not primarily related to literacy – again identifying literacy challenges as a root cause. One of the ongoing issues that many of us face when communicating about literacy is that the numbers of people affected, are on the surface simply unbelievable to the person on the street. It is our hope that by using reputable materials from outside the field, a broad consensus will be apparent to the viewer.

If you’d like to use the #literacyworks hashtag this September, please feel free to do so. Consider yourselves part of the experiment! Obviously, we would also like to invite you to like and share the #literacyworks posts from any of the organizations below (please!).

With thanks and wishes for a good start to the year,

The Literacy Works Committee:
Dyan Semple – Community Adult Learning and Literacy Society Fort Saskatchewan and Strathcona County
Alyssa McPhail – Learning Centre Literacy Association
Bonnie Caron – Project Adult Literacy Society
Sharon Smith and Edith Kiggundu – Centre for Family Literacy
Denise Magis – Leduc Adult Learning
STAR Literacy – formerly Joanna Sokolic


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