Message from the President: Literacy–An issue that touches us all

Focus on Learning is Linkonlearning’s revamped K-8 newsletter for parents and educators. Our online community consists of people like you. We welcome your stories. Share your experiences, ideas, and passion for learning.

Janice Frohlich is the president of Linkonlearning. She has worked with children and adult learners to help foster a love of learning and has dedicated herself to providing new opportunities for students to be successful lifelong learners.



In this issue of Focus on Learning, the spotlight is on literacy. Literacy is an issue that touches us all since strong literacy skills provide substantial benefits to individuals, families, business and society.

Studies show that reading fluency is a powerful variable between socioeconomic status and health. In the U.S., annual heath care costs are four times higher among those with low level literacy skills than those with high level literacy, according to the Columbia University School of Nursing (Health Literacy Overview). From a more global perspective, infant mortality can be decreased by up to 50% simply by teaching mothers to read, says the Citizens Foundation website.

The rewards of literacy are far reaching. Experts agree that literacy reduces poverty, lowers unemployment, decreases the need for public assistance, creates a competitive labour force and drives economic growth.

Literacy is also an important issue for business and labour. According to the Conference Board, lack of basic literacy skills in reading and writing among employees cost business in the United States over $60 billion in productivity annually.

Changing workplaces, changing demands
New technologies and globalization have changed the workplace. These changes have resulted in increased demands and rising expectations on employees. To meet these challenges and compete for jobs in the new economy, employees must be more skilled in reading, writing, counting, computing, critical thinking and problem solving.

In this technological era, as information technology and Internet technology transform the character of life and work, literacy and numeracy skills play a decided role in determining the economic and social well-being of individuals. Employees with weak literary skills are penalized with lower incomes while those with strong skills are rewarded with higher incomes.

In terms of the individual, literacy skills bring employment stability, job prospects, economic success, improved self-confidence, fuller participation in community life, informed parenting choices and much more.

Literacy skills ready children for the future
Our children are growing up in a technological era filled with huge possibilities for a better future. By strengthening the focus on literacy at the elementary school level, we give them a springboard from which to take advantage of all tomorrow offers.

At Linkonlearning, literacy instruction is embedded across the curriculum. Students not only read their lessons, the lessons are also narrated, which enables the students to both hear and see information. The keyboard adds another layer by providing an interactive tactile learning experience. This multi-sense approach to learning increases the rate of retention and accommodates a variety of learning styles.

Besides Linkonlearning units and lessons, our online library offers exciting opportunities for exploring new books, reading classics, listening to audiobooks, and learning language. Animated children’s books delight youngsters who love to listen to their favourites over and over. And what could be more entertaining than hearing author Robert Munch read 50 Below Zero?

To supplement online lessons and books, we also offer students in grade five to eight one-on-one opportunities to build reading, writing and comprehension skills.

Literacy skills are a use it or lose it affair. Evidence reveals that the literacy skills acquired today do not remain consistent over a lifetime. Since they can decline with lack of use or due to aging, literacy skills must be practiced frequently and built upon consistently.

We hope you will find our positive attitude toward education and literacy contagious. We encourage parents to model literacy to their children and build the foundation for lifelong learning by making literacy skills a family commitment. Look inside this issue to discover practical ideas for making family literacy a priority.