Episode 1: Why Literacy Matters

8 September 2021

Literary specialist Berniece Gowan discusses how improving literacy levels can shift the needle on poverty reduction.

Published 8 September 2021

Updated 6 April 2022

Our first episode of Let's Talk Poverty discusses why literacy matters and why taking a human-centred approach is so important.

In this episode

  • Definition of literacy (literacy, numeracy and digital barriers)
  • How literacy levels can influence income levels, employment and participation in society
  • Insights from remote learning gained during the last year and a half of being in a pandemic
  • How Calgary Learns is tackling this issue and insights gained from their Literacy and Poverty Project
  • Insights for best practices and approaches developed by Alberta subject matter experts to promote literacy

Three key takeaways

  • How literacy impacts poverty
  • What the barriers are to literacy experienced by people in Calgary and Alberta
  • Ways to work to reduce barriers and increase literacy for one in five Albertans experiencing challenges

About Berniece Gowan

Berniece has been working within the adult literacy field for 20 years. As a former social worker, adult literacy finally made sense to her when she discovered Dr. Jenny Horsman’s research on the impact of violence on learning. Her core work is in professional development. At Calgary Learns, Berniece has had the opportunity to work with individual practitioners, across organizations and in the intersection of literacy and poverty. Her passion is creating opportunities for knowledge sharing, particularly through community conversations. She is respectful of the commitment and courage of the adults who choose to return to learning and she is honoured to work alongside the people who build pathways to possibility with those adults.

About Calgary Learns

Calgary Learns is a granting agency that supports foundational learning for adult Calgarians. Through community consultations, research and needs assessments, they help their members respond to current learning issues. They make community-based learning accessible and promote the value of learning.

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