Decoda Literacy Solutions Is Working to Spread Awareness About Reading in B.C. This September

Executive Director, Margaret Sutherland speaks on the “literacy month” initiative and the importance of it

Tae Whitehouse, English Literature major at KPU, indulges in a good book. (Kristen Frier)

Decoda Literacy Solutions, an organization that raises awareness on literacy in B.C., has assigned September as literacy month. According to Executive Director, Margaret Sutherland, Decoda Literacy Solutions is the only B.C.-wide literacy non profit organization. They provide support, training, mentorship, and funding to literacy programs throughout the province. 

Literacy plays a huge role in every aspect of people’s lives. Understanding what is being asked and how to complete certain tasks is very important. According to Decoda Literacy Solutions, more than 700,000 British Columbians have significant challenges with literacy. 

To address this problem, Sutherland mentions that Decoda supports a network of 100 literacy outreach coordinators, who work with local task groups to discuss literacy needs in communities across B.C. 

“It’s a community development approach to literacy work that’s being very effective… it’s not a cookie cutter kind of approach,”  she says.

Sutherland also speaks on Decoda Literacy Solutions  literacy month initiative. Which comes at the right time, since students are about to complete their second week of the new school year. 

“We hold a month long campaign in September, throughout the month we are active on social media. This year the theme is ‘put on your purple,’” she says  “We’re asking everyone to put on their purple and post on social media to show their support for literacy.”

The campaign also includes various events such as a “celebrate literacy” photo contest, which also follows the ‘put on your purple’ theme. They also have a team trivia event that occurs at the end of September, along with a literacy fundraiser. The proceeds raised from these events go to support literacy programs in B.C.

“The main goal of  [literacy month] is to raise awareness about literacy and to raise funds to support literacy initiatives across the province,” says Sutherland. 

Sutherland is not the only one who had something to say about literacy and the importance of it. KPU University Librarian Todd Mundle says that literacy is very important and universities and libraries play a very important role in terms of helping us to educate the youth of today, and making sure that their literacy skills are up to speed.

Since librarians don’t necessarily teach, the role they play to help students with literacy is through providing help with research. From showing students how to properly use the research database, to providing recommendations for helpful books. They assist students and answer whatever research questions they might have. 

“What it boils down to is developing these relationships with students and really making students be aware of the fact that we are here to serve students and that’s our primary goal,” Mundle says. “Whether it’s the learning centre or whether it’s the library,” he adds. 

“You provide as many avenues [for students] as is possible, whether that’s face to face or …. an online environment,” Mundle says in regards to returning students who might be having problems understanding class assignments.

While the literacy month initiative is just for September, we need to constantly think of ways to promote literacy, and we’re glad Decoda Literacy Solutions is an organization that helps with that.


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