Family Literacy Night with Literacy Unlimited at Maple Grove

submitted by Sue Simatos, First Nation, Inuit and Métis liaison

Literacy Unlimited (LU) is a charitable, not-for-profit, community organization dedicated to changing lives through improved adult literacy. Based in the West Island of Montreal, we are the only grassroots literacy resource centre serving English-speaking adults through the entire Lester B. Pearson School Board Territory.  We have been proudly serving our community for over 40 years.

Literacy Unlimited provides free and confidential one-on-one tutoring programs for adults (16 years and older), and we offer a variety of community literacy activities and programming, including new programs in family literacy.
 Our family literacy programs promote and provide literacy resources for the whole family, to nurture learning, support literacy and encourage a lifelong love of reading for every member of the household.

We received funding to offer a family literacy program within our community and approached the Lester B. Pearson School Board as a potential partner. Our program provides books to children and a QR sticker inside the book leads parents to an interactive website with family literacy ideas and activities for children of all ages. The children receive a book, and the parents receive access to the website with activities, as well as the opportunity to learn more about our tutoring services.

This unique and collaborative project with the School Board was a huge success. Maple Grove Elementary was the school chosen for this first collaboration and the staff and other LBPSB volunteers were enthusiastic to participate! We at Literacy Unlimited appreciated their support in distributing the books to the families, in an environment familiar to the children and welcoming to the parents. This team effort distributed 203 books that evening, and the children were able to browse the titles and pick their favourite to take home. The remaining inventory of books was left at the school to hand out to students who were not able to attend.

We hope this project serves to strengthen our community through literacy. Now that we have a successful and well executed event under our belts, we are eager to explore the possibilities for future programs in collaboration with such a large and significant educational partner whose territory we serve.

We are grateful to all who participated every step of the way, and we especially thank LBPSB First Nation, Inuit and Métis Liaison Suzanne Simatos for championing this project from the School Board side.

In addition, we would like to thank Lucy Baum and Ingrid Fischer and all the volunteers from Literacy Unlimited as well as Deborah Shizgal, Gen Lecavalier, Patricia Blackett, Raphaella Dixon and Angela Lionetti for without them this event would not have been possible.

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