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BC Government: Province supports innovative community literacy programs

Sep. 21, 2018

VICTORIA – British Columbians of all ages will be able to improve their reading, writing and communications skills, thanks to a provincial investment of $500,000 in the Vancouver Sun’s annual Raise-a-Reader campaign.

“Raise-a-Reader plays an important role in supporting literacy by raising funds for innovative community programs throughout B.C.,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “These programs are truly making a difference in the lives of children and their families, helping build literacy skills today that will help people succeed in the future.”

Raise-a-Reader was launched by the Vancouver Sun in 1997. This year’s contribution was announced during the 2018 Raise-a-Reader Week, held Sept. 14-21, and brings the total provincial investment to almost $7.4 million in support of literacy programs offered through public libraries, Indigenous organizations, community literacy organizations, schools and family resource centres.

The government’s $500,000 investment flows through Decoda Literacy Solutions, the only provincewide literacy organization in B.C., to deserving programs in communities throughout the province.

Examples of B.C. community programs that benefit from Raise-a-Reader include:

  • Nelson – Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy’s Come Read With Me ProgramAn ongoing two-hour workshop for parents teaching a variety of strategies to support their child’s early reading skills.
  • Prince Rupert – North Coast Literacy Now’s Celebrating Literacy EventAnnually brings together representatives of local educational, Indigenous and child care groups to offer community and school readings, storytelling sessions and children’s art workshops.
  • Westshore of Vancouver Island – Your Literacy Connection Westshore’s Books for Breakfast and Literacy for Lunch ProgramsMonthly programs featuring music, story time, play-based activities, a snack and a children’s book to take home. Literacy information is displayed and volunteers are on site to offer support and information on local literacy programs and available resources.


Scott Andrews, marketing manager, Vancouver Sun –

“The Vancouver Sun’s Raise-a-Reader program provides children with important tools to build literacy skills. We join efforts, along with partners in government and esteemed institutions, to open doors to knowledge and give a new perspective on kids’ lives throughout B.C. Postmedia appreciates all our valued partners for the continued commitment and contribution in this fundamental reading initiative.”

Margaret Sutherland, executive director, Decoda Literacy Solutions –

“We are grateful for the B.C. government’s ongoing support for literacy and learning. Communities across the province create literacy programs and services that benefit children and families with support from Raise-a-Reader funds.”

Joan Exley, Nelson community literacy co-ordinator, Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy –

“Some parents come into our workshops apprehensive about supporting their children’s early reading. Parents are leaving the workshops with gratitude, knowing they now have the tools to help their children be more successful with reading in school. This is made possible through the Raise-a-Reader funding.”

Quick Facts:

  • The campaign, since 1997, has raised more than $17 million for literacy initiatives in B.C.
  • During the annual Raise-a-Reader Week, the campaign features daily stories in the Vancouver Sun’s print and online editions highlighting community literacy programs.
  • Last year, Raise-a-Reader support led to hosting 5,452 children and family literacy sessions in B.C., attended by 67,741 people, a five-fold increase over 2016.

Learn More:

Decoda Literacy Solutions:


To donate to the 2018 Raise-a-Reader campaign, visit:


Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Education
250 356-5963


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