A vital skill no one should lack

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Happy Family Literacy Day. If you’re breezing through this, you know the joys of reading and would eagerly encourage the skill. Among skills, it is one that can bring sheer pleasure, but it’s also vital to get along in life.

Thus we celebrate an annual event such as this, but we also realize not all are comfortable with the printed word, and work always faces us to make sure those who need help can get it.

Locally, the Pictou Antigonish Regional Library has a week’s worth of events celebrating family literacy at various branches.

With the theme “15 Minutes of Fun,” the library hopes to get people thinking about that message: all it takes is 15 minutes here and there to read a book to a child. That’s the kind of activity that turns young people into book bugs, the first step along the way to being lifelong readers.

Literacy rates are always a concern. Lack of literacy is a chief obstacle that will hold a person back in employment advances. It could, in severe cases, get in the way of landing a first job.

We’ll recall on the political level the debate that arose when the provincial government a couple of years back announced changes to the reading program in elementary schools for students having difficulties. Intense help provided early during struggles is essential.

On the other hand, never consider it too late to improve.

There are organizations such as Pictou County Continuous Learning Association, which provides academic upgrading to adults.

There are also ways that people who want to help can get involved, such as through Laubach Literacy, Pictou County, dedicated to raising literacy levels. On a regular basis the organization appeals to the public for tutors willing to assist others in the program, from the basics of learning the alphabet to getting prepared for GEDs.

Lack of literacy is serious business. But as this campaign supported by libraries tries to show, having fun with literature is a good way to avoid the problem.

Organizations: Pictou Antigonish Regional Library, Pictou County Continuous Learning Association

Geographic location: Pictou County

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