Literacy in the future – the future of literacy in Canada

June 17th, 2008 by Maria Moriarty

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The Canadian Council on Learning has just released  Reading the Future – the first report of its kind in Canada providing detailed estimates of Canadian literacy levels through 2031.

Based on  analysis and sythesis of data from the  International Adult Literacy and Skills Survery (IALSS ) the report argues that the proportion of adults with low literacy skills will remain more or less constant and that, based on projected population growth, there will be a 25% increase in the number of  Canadian adults with low literacy skills.  Reading the Future  includes an interactive online tool, PALMM – Projections of Adult Literacy – Measuring Movement  to calculate adultl literacy rates in the future. The report also discusses approaches to improving literacy, and a short series of video clips in which adult literacy students describe their learning journeys.

Although the International Adult Literacy and Skills Survey (IALSS) data is widely accepted and often used in support of arguments for greater support for adult literacy  some have questioned its metholdology and the analysisof the data.  For example the provocatively titled article , Adults just don’t know how stupid they are – Dublious statistics in Adult Literacy and Numeracy –   by Inge Hennigsen of the Department of Statistics at the University of Copenhagen  provides a critical counterpoint and makes for very interesting reading.

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