Within Canada, First Nations children are two to three times less likely to complete high school than non-indigenous children 1 2. Unfortunately, many First Nations, Métis and Inuit children do not have access to age-appropriate books or libraries in their communities which are key to build and retain literacy skills.
More than 60% of Aboriginal Canadians do not have the literacy skills necessary to create a better life for themselves and their families, or to fully participate in our national economy.
How We’re Promoting Literacy
Together with Maskwacis Cultural College and Scholastic Canada, we are working to promote literacy in Indigenous communities by increasing access to books. Through our program, Ayamitah “Let’s Read Together”, we deliver books to First Nations educational organizations, communities, and literacy programs throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Since 2008, we have distributed more than 230,000 books. The project supports and strengthens community literacy initiatives with the aim of cultivating a year-round culture of reading, inspiring lifelong readers, and strengthening literacy in Indigenous communities.
We distribute the majority of books directly to children and families, so they can all the books their own. The program also impacts communities as a whole through the creation of temporary libraries.
Maskwacis Cultural College, Save the Children Canada and their corporate donor Scholastic Canada, “I am so ever thankful that you have made it possible for children of all ages to own their very own books at home. There are many families off reserve struggling to make ends meet and these are the families I would like to assist by giving them a present – to enjoy a book they can call their own.”
Marie Crier, Maskwacis Wahkotowin Research Development Teacher, Ecole Queen Elizabeth Junior High School
1 – Lachance, 2009
2 – Ontario Native Literacy Coalition, 2015