Email this articleE-mail this story  Discuss this articleWrite letter to editor  Discuss this articleOrder a classified ad

A Northern spin on literacy

Lisa Scott
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 10/04) - Picture this: one adult crouched down, spinning in a vortex that is supposed to resemble a kitchen blender. Three other adults hover around him as the walls of the appliance.

NNSL photo/graphic

Lisa Campbell, with the NWT Literacy Council, helped facilitate a week's worth of workshops Nov. 29-Dec. 3. The idea was for literacy and non-literacy workers to learn programs and share them at home. - Lisa Scott/NNSL photo

The descriptive scene was part of a slew of literacy activities taught during the Family Literacy Training Institute from Nov. 29 to Dec. 3.

The workshops, hosted by the NWT Literacy Council, attracted literacy and non-literacy workers from Yellowknife and other communities. They were there to learn programs, then take them home to others -- even if it meant a little embarrassment.

Karla Newell works with the Healthy Family Program offered by the Department of Health and Social Services.

Part of the reason she signed up for the workshops was to learn skills to facilitate the new program, which offers support to families with young children.

"Everything we've learned, we'll use in our everyday work," she said during one workshop at Northern United Place.

"It's creating new ways of presenting old info," she said of programs like 1-2-3 Rhyme with Me, Book Buddies and Reading Circles.

Lisa Campbell, a co-facilitator of the training institute, which has run in the city for about three years, said the workshops help meet the needs of people doing literacy work in the NWT.

"They are getting a broader definition of literacy, so they can include more people in their programs," she said of the participants.

Northern theme

The unique approach the Literacy Council provides is a Northern theme found in resources like books, rhymes, songs and activities.

"We felt we had to have our own programs to meet the needs of Northerners," said Campbell.

The participants, about half from Yellowknife and the rest from smaller communities, came and went for various workshops during the week at Northern United Place.