I’ve done a lot of research over the years about illiteracy rates in Canada and how they’re linked to crime, poverty, and increased mortality rates. That’s why we’ve created the Adopt-a-School initiative through Pandamonium Publishing House-we strive to provide as many children with books as possible, but we can’t do it without your help! Check out some of the alarming stats below:
The number of illiterate Canadians in 2023 is staggering. 1 Forty-eight percent of Canadian adults (approximately 17 million) are considered to have inadequate literacy skills (1The Conference Board of Canada), which means they cannot read or write well enough to perform everyday tasks such as reading instructions on medicine, filling out applications, or reading street signs. 2 One million Canadian children under the age of fifteen are estimated to have below-grade-level literacy skills, that’s 1 in 8 kids (2Childrensliteracy.ca). Why does this matter? By investing early in a child’s education, we can change the future for Canadians. In a report by 3 Deloitte, a one percent increase in literacy would create an economic benefit of $67 billion in gross domestic product for Canada per year and could boost the standard of living for everyone (3 An economic Overview of Children’s Literacy in Canada, November 2020). Illiteracy is linked to crime, poverty, and an increase in mortality rates. 4 People who come into contact with police, as suspects, victims, or witnesses, tend to have lower literacy skills. And neighbourhoods with lower literacy levels tend to have higher crime rates. People with low literacy often lack adequate problem-solving skills and tend to be less active citizens as well as more statistically likely to be involved in crime either as the offender or the victim. Offenders are
three times as likely to have literacy problems than the rest of the population, 79 of 100 people entering Canadian correctional facilities do not have a high school diploma, and 65 of 100 people entering correctional facilities have less than a grade 8 education or level of literacy skills (4policeabc.ca). 5 Illiteracy is a problem for the Canadian economy as evidence shows that adults with low literacy skills are less likely to be employed and tend to stay unemployed for longer periods (5 College, 2019). 6 Statistics Canada reports that for individuals with literacy rates in the lowest category, 29% were low-income households (6Statistics Canada, 2016). Illiteracy is also linked to increased mortality rates, as those with low levels of literacy are more likely to have poor health and engage in riskier behaviours. 7 People with inadequate health literacy had a 50% higher mortality rate over five years than people with adequate reading skills (7 Sciencedaily.com). Illiteracy affects us all. 8 80% of a child’s brain is developed by age three, with a key period of development occurring in their language and literacy skills. Unfortunately, the quality of early childhood education a child receives is often determined by their economic status. By age five, 50% of children living in poverty are not academically or socially ready for school. By fourth grade, the divide increases, with 80% of low-income children reading below grade level. These children often fall behind during critical early years, which not only negatively affects their performance in the classroom but can also impact their social skills, health, and economic status
later in life (8readingpartners.org).
By partnering with Pandamonium Publishing House Adopt-a-School literacy initiative, we can help the most vulnerable children in our country by helping them have access to books and igniting a love of literacy early in their academic careers and potentially throughout their lives. Here’s more information on how you can partner with us: Adopt a School! Literacy Matters – Pandamonium Publishing House