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Learning Literacy in Canada: Evidence from the International Survey of Reading Skills

February 24, 200824 February 2008

Reading, Publishing and Literacy

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The intent of Learning Literacy in Canada, based on an assessment of 2,000 adult Canadians from all literacy levels, is to understand “the nature of [Canada’s] adult literacy challenges and the appropriate ways in which these could be addressed”. Overall, as noted in Statistics Canada’s Daily article related to the report, “Canada has very few people who exhibit a really limited capacity in reading skills”.

Lower-literacy Canadians tend to have low education (one-half have not finished high school), be immigrants to Canada (45% are immigrants), and have a mother tongue other than English or French (43% have another mother tongue).

The report finds important variations in lower-literacy Canadians’ skills, including spelling, vocabulary and decoding. Given these variations, the report recommends that the findings be used “to plan and deliver appropriate and efficient reading instruction for different groups of adult learners”.

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