"Government's commitment to literacy
Letter by Tom Christensen, Minister of Education, Vancouver Sun,
October 8, 2004
I'd like to set the record straight about our government's commitment
to literacy in response to the article by Stephen Hume (School libraries
suffer in a society that says it values reading, Oct. 6.).
A lack of literacy skills is a serious problem
for many British Columbians. Our government has pledged to make
B.C. the most literate location in North America by 2010 and we
are working in partnership with school districts to achieve this
School districts are in the best position to decide
how to use their operating funding to improve literacy and to determine
how much they want to spend on school libraries. Districts approach
their literacy goals in different ways.
Some are using school librarians while others use
literacy mentors. It's up to the districts to determine their own
literacy strategies. These strategies include innovative programs
to best meet the needs of their students. Student results are improving,
showing us districts are making good decisions.
For example, the North Vancouver district has developed
the Reading 44 program to improve reading for primary, intermediate
and secondary levels. The heart of the program lies in twelve reading
strategies and many classroom activities that encourage students
to learn these strategies.
We have recently invested almost $15 million in
literacy initiatives including new textbooks, computers, tools for
teachers and parents and a school readiness campaign for three-year-olds.
This is on top of a $313-million increase in education funding over
the next three years.
Minister of education
© The Vancouver Sun 2004