1 in 5 Canadians cannot read the news

literacy

Almost half of Canadians read below a high school level.

So how does that affect the way people read the news?

We spoke with the Executive Director of ABC Life Literacy Canada Mack Rogers.

"How we assess reading in terms of assessing media very much depends on the content, the context and the target. So it’s hard to say just blanket 'This is what it is" but that kind of gives you an idea. As a rule, I think most writers try to write at a Grade 10 or lower for media, but considering 50 per cent of Canadians read at Grade 8 or lower, it's still a bit of a miss match," said Rogers.

Their research shows close to one in five Canadians struggle to read the average newspaper.

Rogers said 17 percent of the population reads at or below a Grade 1 level and they often live in vulnerable communities.

"People who are dissociated from income or employment or people who are struggling with housing. The people that have it the worst often have the lowest literacy skills. Research kind of points to literacy as a silver bullet in helping Canadians move out of poverty, move away from the criminal justice system and have increased health outcomes. It really is an amazing thing we can do if we invest a little bit of time and money into it."

Literacy is critical in understanding the difference between facts and misinformation.

Rogers said the federal government recognizes that, so they are working to improve literacy levels across Canada.

Last week they announced a new Skills for Success framework that bolsters career planning and skills development.

“I think the other big piece is that we need to raise the conversation. Literacy needs to be part of our dinning room table and boardroom table conversations. It’s worth talking about. It's worth saying "This is a problem. We can fix it" and it benefits all of us. The third piece, I think individuals can actually take some time and do a little learning on their own,” said Rogers.

Free modules available to up your skills to ABCskillshub.ca.