Monday, February 20, 2006

More on Ontario LG's literacy intiatives

Hey everyone,

Article of interest in today's Toronto Sun on the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario's literacy initiatives with Aboriginal Youth. Also of note that they interview Frontier College`s Phil Fernandez. Go Phil!

Also on the literacy news front - link from the NALD Headline News Site to A 10-year, Results-Based National Literacy Action Plan 2006 - 2016 put together by the Movement for Canadian Literacy with input from other Literacy Organizations, including Frontier College.

And, finally, for those of you wishing some lighter fare - Read Alert informs us in her Feb. 20th Round up that Amber who won Survivor (as in Rob-and-Amber) has written a book for teens. Teens, however, do not appear impressed.


PUBLICATION: The Toronto Sun
DATE: 2006.02.20
SECTION: Lifestyle
PAGE: 39

First Nations youth may be fluent in their indigenous languages of Cree, Ojibwe and Oji-Cree, but it's English they need to speak, according to Frontier College's Philip Fernandez, administrator of the Lt.-Gov.'s Aboriginal Literacy Summer Camps.

English is their springboard to career opportunities within their own communities and to the outside world -- to places far beyond their remote towns tucked away in northwestern Ontario, says Fernandez.

Given the right literacy tools, children of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation will see old age. For many, English is a synonym for survival -- a lifeline from death.

"Every other week, a Native child kills themself. One girl hung herself on a tree in front of the school. It's a real tragedy," says Lt.-Gov. James K. Bartleman. Soaring suicide rates and their high-level of illiteracy are key reasons he initiated the 2005 summer literacy camps in North Caribou Lake, Kingfisher Lake, Muskrat Dam, Neskantaga and Fort Albany.

"Very few children make it through high school. Those that do are about five years behind other Ontario children," Bartleman says of this struggling population in transition from a traditional to modern society. The five camps, staffed with 20 councillors recruited from Southern Ontario and about 40 from Native communities, hosted a three-week literacy program for 365 kids between the ages of 4 to 14.

Last July, Bartleman visited the camps and found the children dispelled stereotyping: "They were really anxious to read and to learn. Even though we brought sports equipment, we found them drifting away from the ball diamonds and going back to the books. "

Already big plans are in the works to run camps in 25 communities this coming summer and Bartleman has pledges from sponsors to pay for summer programs for the next five years.


Capturing the essence of the Lt.-Gov.'s camps is a compelling photographic exhibition, Summer of Hope, on view until Friday at The Allen Lambert Galleria in BCE Place (or visit website

The collection of poignant black and white images of First Nations children were taken by five top Canadian photojournalists who belong to PhotoSensitive -- an organization of volunteers who donate their time and their talent to raising awareness towards global and national issues.

"People think it's hopeless, this (the exhibit) shows that it's not. It shows the joy of life in the communities and that's why it's called Summer of Hope." says Bartleman.



- In 2004, a program was launched that collected more than 1.2 million books for First Nations school libraries.

- To enrich learning and communication skills, a twinning program was created pairing kids in native and non-native schools.


- The Amick (beaver in Ojibwe) Book Club will supply books to aboriginal youth through the months in between summer camps. The Lt.-Gov. urges all Canadians to get involved:

"A $100 donation or even 10 individual $10 donations will pay for a child's participation for one year in the club." With this funding, each child will receive six books a year plus a magazine that they will be encouraged to submit stories to.


To make a donation, mail to: Club Amick, The Southern Ontario Library Service, 111 Peter St., Suite 902, Toronto, ON, M5V 2H1, or call 1-800-387-5765.


At 3:07 PM, Blogger Vincent Riccio said...

I wanted to thank you for the plug to my blog concerning the National Breakfast Program. I have also plugged your website as well because I am a firm believer in literacy as I am an english teacher.

At 3:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i could go on a roll on this subject ... i have a child who has an extreme literacy deficiency. extremely smart kid in the school system, when / if those who allowed him to be tested verbally. every day of his life, has been a constant worry of him falling in the / through the cracks.

with all the failures of those who wanted to label him, the ones that made is world, were those who picked up on his strengths! and those teachers that took the time to test him verbally, so he could walk away, not feeling 'stupid or dumb'. the world around him changes when self worth is inspired!

At 1:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Louise, these photos are beautiful! Thanks for posting these links. :)



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