1006-715 Hewitson Street, Thunder Bay ON P7B 6B5
Tel: (807) 623-6420 • Fax: (807) 623-6180 • info@uwaytbay.ca

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Learning Literacy Skills

Literacy skills are sometimes taken for granted but are something we rely upon every day—at work, at home, at school, and in the community. However, many people do not have the literacy skills they need for home, work and life. This exposes them to challenges with, completing their high school education, higher rates of unemployment or low paying jobs, and less community engagement which, can all lead to a diminished quality of life. These lower skills can also reduce their ability to make informed choices about their health care, finances and other key decisions. In addition, these challenges can also affect the next generation as parents play a vital role as their children’s first teachers and the more often literacy practices are embedded in daily family life, the higher the likelihood that the child will succeed in school.

The Thunder Bay Literacy Group (TBLG) is a local, community-based adult learning organization that welcomes and support adults in Thunder Bay who wish to improve their basic reading, writing, math, and computer skills in a self-directed manner. In addition, the TBLG raises awareness about adult literacy issues. The United Way helps fund two of the TBLGs programs: One-to-One Tutoring and Small Group class. The One-to-One program recruits and trains volunteers to tutor adults to improve their literacy, numeracy and computer skills. Adult learners are matched with trained volunteers based on skill levels, goals and personality. The Small Group Class is another form of skills training provided by the TBLG. This class provides one-to-one instruction to individuals who wish to learn in a small group setting.

The following are success stories that learners wished to share, to let others know that they can achieve their learning goals as well, like the thousands of learners who have entered the programs the TBLG have. Names have been modified to respect the privacy of the individuals.

Due to having seizures and problems with medication as an infant, Anne had troubles not with processing, but retaining information. Luckily for Anne, the TBLGs programming was a lot more flexible, so learning could happen at a pace she was comfortable with. In the short time she was at the TBLG, she achieved a lot of her learning goals. Her progress was astounding. She had only been with us for around a year, and she already transferred into the Community Integration Through Co-operative Education (CICE) program at Confederation College. When she completes the CICE program, she will transfer to the Early Childhood Education program to receive qualifications in a field she has already worked in and will continue to do so.

Betty wished to be more involved in her child’s learning. She wanted to be able to understand her daughter’s report card, participate in parent-teacher interviews, and be a mentor. She recognized the importance of being an involved parent. To do this, she knew she needed to upgrade her skills to increase her vocabulary, speaking skills, and understanding of numbers. With the help of a custom-learning plan, the instructor was able to help enhance all of the skills necessary for her to do so. Upon completion, Betty, was much more confident in her skills, and proudly discussed learning with her daughter’s teachers.

The Thunder Bay Literacy Group is located at 2100 Nipigon Road and can be reached at 475-7211

United Way of Thunder Bay is leading the way to a better community by improving the quality of life for all local people. By collaborating with community partners, we are leading the way to addressing social issues in our community and investing in three critical areas: Poverty, Kids and Strong Communities. Donations to the United Way are strategically invested across Thunder Bay to many vital programs and initiatives in these areas, creating a social safety net that works to achieve lasting change for our neighbours, families and friends.

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