UPEI Leading Family Literacy Approach for Aboriginal Families in Atlantic Canada

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An Atlantic research and training project entitled,"Train the Trainer: A Family Literacy Approach for Aboriginal Families in Atlantic Canada" was officially launched today during a ceremony at the University of Prince Edward Island. The Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC), Honourable Monte Solberg, announced that the federal government will provide $294,567 in funding.

Dr. Vianne Timmons, Vice-President of Academic Development, is leading the three-year research project to develop and implement a family literacy training program with teachers and volunteers in Aboriginal communities. The research will be conducted in communities in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward Island.

A train the trainer manual will be developed with the communities, based on relevant cultural materials, to use in the implementation of the program. It will then be available as a general guide to be used by other groups for training people for their respective projects. Local facilitators will acquire the skills and knowledge to host family literacy programs. Parents and children who participate will acquire skills related to literacy development. These skills can also improve parents' ability to support their children in all educational experiences.

"Recent research in developing family literacy programs in rural PEI has shown that engaging families in improving literacy for their children not only increases the children's literacy levels, but also builds family networks and transforms family practices," says Dr. Timmons. "The approach involves the whole family and benefits parents and children alike."

John Jerome Paul, Director of Programs and Services in Nova Scotia is very excited to partner with Dr. Timmons on this project: "We have hosted this family literacy program in our community in the past, and the feedback from families has been very positive. We look forward to working with Dr. Timmons and her team to train additional facilitators in the Atlantic region, so we can continue offering family literacy programming in our area."

The University of Prince Edward Island has been researching family literacy for the last six years. Dr. Timmons began her research to improve children's literacy levels in rural and Aboriginal communities across Atlantic Canada in 2001.

For further information, contact Dr. Vianne Timmons at vtimmons@upei.ca or 902 566-0405.


Anne McCallum
Media Relations and Communications