With a flag raised at city hall to commemorate Saturday as International Literacy Day, a group of local literacy stewards set out to solidify the day in the minds of the community.
“We’re going to challenge everybody today, on International Literacy Day, to learn something new — something that they haven’t done before that’s related to literacy,” Prince Albert Literacy Network member Lavera Schiele said on Saturday.
The group spread across Saturday’s Prince Albert Farmer’s Market to share tidbits about literacy and to continue their ongoing efforts to create a more literate community.
One tidbit is the idea that the word “illiterate” has no place in conversations about literacy.
“We call them low literacy,” network member Lillis Lawrence explained.
“There’s not a single person that can’t read a stop sign, I think — that’s a literacy skill.”
The international standard for literacy is literacy level three — the point at which people are able to function well with the information around them, including things like reading a newspaper, managing a computer and understanding bank statements.
“We estimate that one in three people in Prince Albert have challenges with literacy,” Lawrence said.
We’re going to challenge everybody today, on International Literacy Day, to learn something new — something that they haven’t done before that’s related to literacy. - Lavera Schiele
To push this literacy level higher, the Prince Albert Literacy Network is seeking more adult tutors to help those with literacy limitations.
This, Schiele said, is currently their key effort at the moment, with all volunteers receiving tutor training so they are better able to help the tutee. The time commitment is likely once per week, she added.
There are many reasons why someone would want to increase their literacy skills.
“Maybe they just want to be able to take their learner’s licence or maybe they want to read to their grandchild or child — maybe they want to read medication information so they don’t get it mixed up,” Schiele said.
“We’re going to be matching the learner and the tutor and they’ll meet to accomplish that goal.”
To become involved in the Prince Albert Literacy Network, the group can be contacted at 922-6736, or through their Facebook page.
The group also meet at the John M. Cuelenaere Public Library on the first Thursday of every month, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.