Archive for July, 2014

Lifelong Learning Can Be Fun

July 22nd, 2014

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By Lynn Easton


I’ve been learning Gaelic from YouTube.

Even when I write that down, I don’t quite believe it. I have never been good at languages, but my daughter thought it would be a fun bonding experience for the two of us to learn an ancient Celtic language that’s just a tad tough to converse in anywhere outside of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. And fun it is!

So I happily raised a glass and said a proper Gaelic toast recently to all the other Adult Learners challenging themselves in ways they never dreamed of as I quietly marked the 13th annual UNESCO Adult Learning Week in Canada.

See, you just learned something too. Adult Learning Week celebrates the ideals of lifelong learning and originated more than a decade ago the United Nations deemed that lifelong learning was important enough to celebrate. Ever since, literacy organizations across Canada have embraced the celebration and the sentiment.

The idea is to honour all types of adult learners and to include people from a variety of literacy levels when creating programs.

Adult Learning Week proponents encourage us to keep the brain active to help create a better quality of life.   My mother just took up Sudoku to add to her crossword habit in hope of staving off the dreaded memory loss. A friend of mine is back at SFU to finish the degree she began in 1968. Both are happier than ever.

In our community you can continue to learn in so many ways it could make your head spin. You can even learn to spin—on a bike or a loom. You can learn to knit, knead bread, build a compost, or build a website.

There are a growing number of adults heading back to school, upgrading their education, or seeking out literacy help. School District’s Riverside Centre is an ideal spot to look upgrade your high school education and to improve your English.

And the MRPMK Community Literacy Committee is the place to call if you need help with reading, writing, or conversational English.  We can help lead you to the right place to start your learning journey, or get you started right away with a one-to-one tutor. Give us a call at 604-721-3738 or 604-220-5231.

And we’d love to read your comments—right here—about the types of learning you are doing or the types of literacy assistance you’d like to see available in our community. In the meantime, I have to get back to my YouTube lessons.   Slainte!


Summer Literacy Learning: Keep your Kids off the Summer Slide

July 2nd, 2014

What happens when young minds aren’t in school for three months? It’s called the summer slide, a decline in school skills such as literacy that can happen to kids over the summer vacation.


You can help prevent the summer slide by keeping learning and literacy alive over the summer. Why not start now by implementing some of these tips?

  • Visit the library. Many local libraries have summer programs, including reading groups for all ages.
  • Fill the house with reading material. Stock up on children’s books so your kids have plenty of choice. There’s no need to buy new—many secondhand bookstores have great options, as do garage sales, thrift stores, and libraries. Why not host a book swap with fellow parents?
  • Be an example. Let your kids see you read the newspaper, magazines, books … the list goes on.
  • Let it be fun! Encourage your kids by letting them choose their own books—whether or not you’d define them as literature.
  • Encourage writing projects. Give your child a notebook to keep as a summer journal or scrapbook, or write letters or thank-you notes together.
  • Look for opportunities. Summer vacations can be full of learning opportunities. Teach your child to read a map, so he or she can help navigate a road trip; follow a simple recipe for chocolate chip cookies together; or look up flowers, trees, or mushrooms in a nature guide. It may not seem like it to your child, but these are both important literacy—and life—skills.


What about you? How do you foster learning over the summer holidays? Let us know your tips, tricks, and stories by posting a comment below!


by Leah Payne