A provincewide training program now offered in Victoria provides community educators and settlement organizations the tools to enhance literacy for new and existing members of the community.
Immigrant Parents as Literacy Supporters is a play-based, culturally responsive family-literacy program developed by Decoda Literacy Solutions.
The program trains participants on how to become effective and engaging teachers, and to help recently arrived parents become literacy supporters for their children.
Decoda, a provincewide literacy organization, recently expanded its training program to Victoria, thanks to funding from the Victoria Foundation in partnership with the Greater Victoria Alliance for Literacy. The non-profit organization supports children and families, youth, adults, seniors, Indigenous and immigrant communities in an effort to build strong individuals, strong families and strong communities.
“The program has proved very successful. Victoria program represents the 20th location in British Columbia,” said program administrator Aliza Dhungana.
Apart from the training program, Decoda also provides resources and funds to support literacy work and initiatives in more than 400 communities across the province.
The Immigrant Parents as Literacy Supporters training is aimed at teachers, early childhood educators, tutors and those interested in becoming tutors for newcomers.
“These educators in turn work with families, to improve their literary skills in a culturally aware way,” said Dhungana. “We want to prepare the children for school and give the parents the opportunity to understand the Canadian education system. We encourage parents to retain their main language while practising their new language so that they can start a sense of belonging in the community.”
Graduates of the program, set to run April 5 and 6, will work closely with schools and community organizations to reach out to newcomer families.
“They will serve as a bridge for the entire family and learn alongside them.”
While Decoda expects graduates to deal directly with almost 400 families, the program is expected to touch as many as 2,000 people of all ages in their extended families.
Decoda is derived from the word decode, which means to create understanding, to unravel the mystery. It is the only provincewide literacy organization in B.C.
For more information, go to decoda.ca.