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A Boost For Research to Improve Children's Language and Literacy Development

London, ON (May 20, 2021)– The Honourable Lucienne Robillard, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, announced today that The Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network, part of the Government of Canada’s Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) program, invested $2 million in 44 multi-disciplinary research projects at 29 institutions across Canada. Each research project furthers Canada’s goal of improving children’s language and literacy skills.

One out of four Canadian adults struggle with language and literacy deficiencies every day. The Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network’s activities focus on early child development because language and literacy deficiencies are best addressed and prevented early in life. The solutions to these problems require collaboration between many scientific disciplines, practitioners and private and public partners. The Network was created to build these linkages and exchanges.

“By investing in the Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network and through our ongoing commitment to lifelong learning, the Government of Canada is strengthening Canada’s social foundations by boosting children’s early literacy skills," said Minister Robillard.

Dr. Marc Renaud, President of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, one of the three federal granting agencies responsible for administering the Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada, explained that “these new national research projects will contribute to a better understanding of early childhood learning.” “These researchers are developing techniques that child care professionals, children and their parents can implement immediately,” he added.

Newly funded Network research projects for 2004 include:

Reading Comprehension in English and French Speaking Children – Project Investigator Marcia Barnes, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto. Even though comprehension is the goal of reading, less is known about how children acquire the ability to understand what they read than is known about the acquisition of word reading skills. This national research project focuses on the development of reading comprehension skills in elementary school children in grades three to eight for narrative, social science and science texts. “The ability to read, understand, and apply text information is essential for children’s school success, employability and labour force productivity,” said Barnes.

The research team’s results will lead to the development of assessment tools, improve instructional methods and remedial programs. These programs will benefit both children who are developing their skills normally and those who are at risk of developing reading comprehension problems.

Language Development in Preschool-Aged French Speaking Children – Project Investigator Ann Sutton, Université de Montréal. Currently few language assessment tools exist that are appropriate for Canadian French children. This project will form the foundation for developing such tools by collecting detailed information regarding the development of language skills in French-speaking children in Quebec. Understanding and use of several language components will be studied, including vocabulary, the sound system, grammar and pragmatics. “The results of the project will serve as the basis for developing tools and measures for evaluating children's language skills that will be useful for speech-language pathologists working with French-speaking children,” said Sutton.

“At the Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network, we believe that Canada's competitiveness in the future depends on our children being able to communicate,” says Dr. Donald Jamieson, CEO and Network Scientific Director. “Our Network is raising the scientific bar for language and literacy in Canada. Our goal is to produce scientific evidence demonstrating that early literacy programs can make a positive difference in the lives of both children and their parents. By establishing close ties with educators and government, our Network ensures that its research results reach those who need them the most.”

The Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network brings together leading scientists, clinicians, students and educators as well as public and private partners. The Network’s mandate is to generate, integrate and disseminate bias-free scientific research and knowledge that is focused on improving and sustaining children’s language and literacy development in Canada. In March 2001, The Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network, was formed when it received a 4-year, $14.2 million grant from the Government of Canada’s Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) program. The Network’s Administrative Centre is located at The University of Western Ontario.

The NCE program is jointly administered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), in partnership with Industry Canada. The goal of the federal NCE program is to mobilize Canada's research talent in universities, industry and government to improve the quality of life for Canadians, create new economy jobs and stimulate growth.


For more information, please contact Jill Wright, at, 519.850.2524 or Industry Canada media relations at 613.943.2502.

Information about each of the 44 funded research projects can be found on The Network Web site at

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LAST MODIFIED: November 04 2004 20:45:35

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