Conclusion and Recommendations

Overwhelmingly, everyone involved in the three projects—family literacy providers, parents, other community members and children themselves— report that they were extremely successful, and that each project has had positive outcomes.

While one of the stated outcomes was increased literacy levels, it is unrealistic to expect such changes after only three years: the development of literacy requires a long-term commitment. However the positive outcomes at this point make us optimistic for the future. A number of people commented that the emphasis on literacy by groups such as the NWT Literacy Council, schools and private companies was really beginning to change people’s attitudes towards literacy. One person referred to it as “the marketing of literacy.” Another person went so far as to claim that it was possible to identify the time when these organizations began emphasizing literacy. She and other people in the community observed that the literacy skills of children following the introduction of literacy interventions is “noticeably higher” than before. Only time will tell what the long-term effects are.

What is clear is that the work of the last three years has increased the capacity of communities to design and deliver their own literacy programs, and that this, in turn, has created a momentum around family literacy. Today, many families, organizations and communities are mobilized around family literacy, even to the point of advocating to their MLAs for funding for family literacy to continue. The idea has engaged people who might otherwise have been reluctant to get involved in literacy. And the bottom line is that both parents and children appear to be benefiting from this movement.

As a result of its findings, the NWT Literacy Council wishes to recommend to the Department of Education, Culture and Employment. . .

  1. . . . that the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) demonstrates its ongoing commitment to families and their young children in the NWT by developing a long-term comprehensive approach to early childhood development that includes family literacy.