Research in brief

Family literacy in Mi'kmaq communities

Communities that invest in family learning invest in literacy, as Investigator Vianne Timmons of University of Prince Edward Island knows well. Her comparison of rural literacy development in Aboriginal Mi'kmaq communities resulted in a clear understanding that we need community programs to support children's literacy in marginal groups.


Dr. Timmon's team created a ten-week literacy program for kids and parents to learn together - one night per week, two hours per session. Reading improvements were dramatic over four and eight month periods. Listening gain (comprehension) over 27 months was equally strong.


Children in Grades 1 to 4 showed a significant increase in auditory learning. The Calgary Education Board has also adopted the program.

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Just because I don't speak English doesn't mean I'm not smart. I speak another language with my family at home. With the right instruction, I can learn English quickly.

Children like me, who lack English vocabulary skills can draw upon already known language and literacy skills in their first language. And the younger we begin to learn English, the quicker we will acquire these skills. Proper instruction is the key.

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