Welcome to the November 2015 edition of the Literacy Coalition of New Brunswick newsletter. We've got some updates about the organization, news related to literacy in New Brunswick and much more. There are lots of exciting things happening at The Coalition; here are a few updates! 
Help us make our vision a reality!

Literacy Coalition Update

We can't believe it's been a month already! Here's some important information from the Literacy Coalition:

Adult Literacy and Essential Skills Brochure

Our new Adult Literacy and Essential Skills brochure is now available on our website. This will help to promote adult literacy programs that are available in our province. Thank you to the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour and all of the committee members for partnering with us to carry out this project.

Check it out here!

Call for 2015 PGI Grant Applications

The Literacy Coalition is now accepting applications for 2015 PGI Grants. These grants are used to support established literacy organizations and programs in New Brunswick each year. Full details and application forms are available on our website.

The deadline for submission of the PGI Grant applications is Thursday, Dec 31, 2015 at 5:30 pm. 

Note: If your organization received PGI funding last year, a report on the activities of the grant must be submitted to LCNB before a new application is considered.

Website Update

We're excited to announce that we've just launched our new website! We've been working on this for quite some time and are excited to debut it to the world. While there are still a few things we're working on, we wanted you to be the first to know. 

Check it out here

In The News

The news has certainly been interesting in the last month. Here are a few stories we think are worth reading.

More than 3,000 run for literacy in Moncton
Times & Transcript (Moncton) 
Mon Oct 26 2015 
Brent Mazerolle 

More than 3,000 athletes ran through Metro Moncton this weekend, raising heart rates - and money - for local literacy programs. The 16th annual IGT Legs for Literacy is the largest running event in the province, offering runners and walkers four races to choose from: a 5K, a 10K walk/run, the 21.1-km Half Marathon and the 42.2-km Marathon.

The top finisher in the full marathon was Ryan O'Shea of New Maryland, who ran more than 26 miles in two hours, 39 minutes. The top woman marathoner was Florence Gillis of Sydney, with a time of three hours, 18 minutes.

Though most competitors come from across Atlantic Canada, many runners travel much farther. Bernadette Huston and Barb Mueller, friends and fellow nurses from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, raced as part of their effort to run marathons right across North America.

The event has raised $506,000, not including whatever this year's final tally will be, since the first race in 2000. The course is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon and the half marathon times can be used to qualify for the New York City Marathon.

© 2015 Times & Transcript (Moncton)

Latest provincial reading test scores 'cause for worry'
Times & Transcript (Moncton) 
Wed Oct 28 2015 
John Chilibeck 

FREDERICTON * About one in four young students in New Brunswick continue to struggle with reading, with the latest test scores showing results getting worse over the last five years.

The province's Grade 2 literacy assessments show nearly 77 per cent of anglophone students in public schools reached the expected level of reading, down from nearly 78 per cent the year before and well off the peak of close to 84 per cent in 2010.

Those reading assessments of 5,049 second graders were done at the end of the school year last spring. The results are still better than 10 years ago, when just 65 per cent of Grade 2 anglophone students hit the mark, but well off the provincial government's long-term target of 90 per cent of children achieving a level of "appropriate or above" for their age.

"The trend line we are seeing is cause for worry," said Erin Schryer, the executive director of Elementary Literacy, a provincial organization that matches adult volunteers with children who struggle to read. "It's a challenge when over half of our adults have low literacy. They are likely to be parents who have low literacy and it's difficult to support their children. That's where we try to help out - we fill a critical void for not only a student, but a family, because those parents want to help their children but might not have the ability to do so."

Results for Grade 2 students in the province's francophone schools were strikingly similar. Those children did two tests - reading silently and out loud - and on both of them, only about 75 per cent achieved the acceptable standard, down slightly from two years ago when both test scores showed closer to 77 per cent hitting the mark.

Elementary Literacy has 550 English and French-speaking volunteers assisting in more than 150 of New Brunswick's public schools. It stresses that children who are not reading at the appropriate level by the end of Grade 2 experience significant difficulty in school and often fall further behind with each year of schooling.

Schryer said the latest scores show the nonprofit group could use more help.

"There continues to be a need for support of our children," she said, adding that even the kids of affluent parents sometimes struggle to read and write. "In my talks with Department of Education, district and school officials, I can tell you this issue is under discussion. It's not like they're not thinking about it. Everyone wants to find a solution."

Education Minister Serge Rousselle was unavailable for an interview Tuesday, but spokeswoman Leah Fitzgerald said he'd likely offer comment when he's free Wednesday afternoon.

Many New Brunswick children - about four out of 10 - also continue to have problems in math.

The provincial mathematics assessment for anglophone students in Grade 8 showed no real appreciable difference from last year, with about 58 per cent of students getting an appropriate score, according to sampling of the tests written by 5,248 eighth graders. The trend line shows a slight decrease over the past 10 years, with the average just over 58 per cent - again, well below the province's target of 85 per cent of children reaching an appropriate or better level.

Francophone students fared better, with 70 per cent of eighth graders achieving the appropriate level. That's up remarkably from two years ago, when only 58 per cent got a similar result.

Meanwhile, the latest round of 5,237 anglophone Grade 9 students who did the English language proficiency test in January did slightly worse than last year, with 78 per cent attaining the mark. The year before, 80 per cent of students hit the "appropriate or above" standard.

Scoring well enough on the test is a graduation requirement, putting pressure on the 22 per cent of students who flunked.

The Education Department states on its website "it is expected that all students will obtain this literacy credential unless an exemption is obtained."

Students who are unsuccessful at Grade 9 can re-write in Grade 11 and again in Grade 12, if necessary.

New Brunswick's francophone students are tested in Grade 8 for their French proficiency. Of those eighth graders, 71 per cent attained a sufficient level.

For the first time last academic year, it was mandatory for Grade 12 anglophone students in French immersion to take the same standardized test, the Provincial French Second Language Oral Proficiency Assessment.

Results for that first cohort weren't great: Among 438 early immersion students, only 42 per cent achieved the advanced proficiency level, the goal of the program. That's well off the provincial target of 85 per cent of students obtaining the advanced level. More than half - 58 per cent - scored below the standard.

Late immersion students fared slightly better: Of the 194 who stayed in the program until the last grade, 56 per cent could speak French at an advanced level, while the other 44 per cent were below the mark.

© 2015 Times & Transcript (Moncton)

Minister pledges to improve province's literacy rates
Times & Transcript (Moncton) 
Thu Oct 29 2015 
John Chilibeck

FREDERICTON * New Brunswick's education minister says cost won't be a barrier as his government tries to turn around dismal literacy rates for young children, a troubling situation he calls unacceptable.

Serge Rousselle pledged Wednesday to address illiteracy a day after the latest test scores showed nearly one in four Grade 2 students in both the province's anglophone and francophone schools continues to struggle reading.

Pressed on how much taxpayers would be expected to foot the bill to address the longstanding problem, Rousselle said that wasn't the chief concern.

"I'm not going to start speaking about money," he said. "We'll do what we have to do to improve those numbers."

The province's Grade 2 literacy assessments conducted in the spring show nearly 77 per cent of anglophone students reached an appropriate level of reading for their age, down from nearly 78 per cent the year before and well off the peak of close to 84 per cent in 2010.

The results are well away from the provincial government's long-term target of 90 per cent.

Results for Grade 2 students in the province's francophone schools were similar. Only about 75 per cent achieved the acceptable standard, down slightly from two years ago when test scores showed closer to 77 per cent obtaining an acceptable mark.

The education minister is worried about the downward trend. His government already initiated a literacy strategy in the spring. Led by two women who have devoted much of their lives to improving education, Marilyn Trenholme Counsell and Liane Roy, the new secretariat has already reported to government with preliminary recommendations a few weeks ago following public consultations this past summer.

Trenholme Counsell is a former lieutenant-governor, MLA, provincial cabinet minister and senator who has received many awards for her work on literacy. Roy is the president and CEO of the Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick and used to be an assistant deputy minister with the provincial Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour.

New Brunswick's Liberal government is also putting together a 10-year education plan to replace the current version that expires in June 2016.

Trenholme Counsell said Wednesday she expects both documents to help guide the Liberal government when it comes to an improved literacy strategy.

"I don't know if spending more money is really the answer," she said from her Sackville home. "It has to be a commitment on the part of government and community. Within the education system, there has to be greater commitment on the part of educators to solve this problem."

She would not describe the secretariat's recommendations in any detail, only to say they were in the hands of departmental officials who will come up with a final plan for government.

She said the goal of having 90 per cent of students in Grade 2 read at an appropriate level was reasonable.

"We have to believe that this is possible, that it's important and doable," she said. "We have to make it a reality throughout the school system."

Experts say reading and writing at an appropriate level at an early age is crucial because a struggling student risks falling further and further behind in each subsequent year of schooling.

New Brunswick has traditionally had low literacy rates compared to other provinces in Canada, a situation that's often blamed on high levels of poverty. It's tough for parents who can't read and write properly to help their kids improve their literacy skills.

However, the list of poorer countries that have successfully educated their children is long. For instance, Cuba's literacy rate at age 15 and over is estimated at 99.8 per cent, while Greenland's is 100 per cent.

The minister said he couldn't explain why successive New Brunswick governments have failed to ensure every child is literate by the end of their schooling.

"I cannot change the past, but you can be sure I'll be working hard to change the future, to make sure we do have the literacy rates we deserve."

© 2015 Times & Transcript (Moncton)

Why does N.B. keep failing on literacy?
The Daily Gleaner (Fredericton) 
Sat Oct 31 2015 
The Daily Gleaner 

It's the political equivalent of a new head coach joining a losing team.

The coach meets the media and talks about how the results aren't good enough, points to changes that need to be made and promises to turn things around.

In New Brunswick, it involves the education minister discussing the latest literacy scores - they're not good enough, something needs to be done and the minister vows to improve things.

The following is a quick history of what education ministers have had to say on the topic.

Elvy Robichaud, 2001. "We want to get the message out that literacy involves everyone."

Dennis Furlong, 2002. "We want to enhance literacy in all its forms, be it reading, writing, computer or information literacy."

Claude Williams, 2006. "I am very confident we are going to see the results improve in New Brunswick."

Kelly Lamrock, 2007. "We know across Canada that we have a challenge with literacy and it's particularly acute in New Brunswick. This is our No. 1 priority."

Jody Carr, 2011. "We're focusing on things like early literacy."

Current Education Minister Serge Rousselle joined their ranks this week.

"We'll do what we have to do to improve those numbers," Mr. Rouselle said.

The minister was referring to a report that said about 23 per cent of anglophone students in Grade 2 weren't reading at the appropriate level, while 25 per cent of francophone students were struggling.

The Liberals' goal is to have 90 per cent of students reading at or above the appropriate level. The high-water mark came in 2010 with 84 per cent.

The province can't be accused of leaving any stone unturned in its efforts to get rates up. In 2000, for example, there was a program where inmates at a low-security prison recorded audio books for elementary school students.

Liane Roy and Marilyn Trenholme Counsell are the latest people charged with coming up with a plan to help fix the problem. They recently handed in their report to help guide the Liberals' 10-year education plan.

A number of smart people with a real passion for improving literacy have taken a stab at the problem over the years, yet the province consistently places in the bottom three in Canada.

As much as the province needs a plan to ensure all children can read at the appropriate level, an explanation is needed as to why previous efforts have failed.

There is no shortage of will to wipe out illiteracy in New Brunswick. There is no confusion regarding the well-documented benefits - both on an individual level and as a collective - of being literate. There is no movement to sabotage the efforts. So how is it possible more than half of adult New Brunswickers are functionally illiterate?

In our view, it's high time officials dissect previous plans and find out where they went wrong. All the stakeholders - parents, teachers, students, the Department of Education - will benefit if it's common knowledge why the plans have fallen short.

It will take a collective effort to ensure all New Brunswickers are literate and everyone needs to know how they can better contribute to the goal.

© 2015 The Daily Gleaner (Fredericton)

KV Briefs
New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal 
Thu Nov 5 2015 

Council shows support for literacy group

Quispamsis * Town council voted to support an ambitious literacy group on Tuesday night. Achieve Literacy Greater Saint John laid out several telling statistics in a presentation to Quispamsis council, including that 60 per cent of children that aren't reading at the appropriate level by Grade 2 will eventually live off social assistance, said Roxanne Fairweather, CEO of Innovation Inc. and the literacy group's co-chair. The group is taking aim at Grade 2 students in the region in an effort to ensure 90 per cent of Grade 2 children are reading at grade level by the end of 2015-16 school year. In the long-term, the group plans to support literacy initiatives for students in grades 3-5, while identifying strategies to improve literacy rate in middle and high schools in hopes of boosting the graduation rate in Greater Saint John to 90 per cent by 2020. The group plans to achieve their goals through volunteerism in schools, lobbying governments, working with stakeholders and establishing metrics for periodic reviews. Council's motion was simply a show of support.

© 2015 Telegraph-Journal (New Brunswick)

Book Clubs for Inmates off to a strong start in Dorchester
Times & Transcript (Moncton) 
Thu Nov 12 2015 
Madelaine Keenlyside 

Inmates with the Dorchester Penitentiary Book Club are reading their second book since the group first met last month, says the program coordinator Jake Brunt.

Ten inmates from the penitentiary joined the club initially, reading The Cellist of Sarajevo by Canadian author Steven Galloway, in September.

Brunt, with the Toronto-based organization Books for Inmates, said the book about a cellist who plays in the ruins of Sarajevo for 22 days, to honour 22 people killed in a mortar attack, was an interesting first pick.

"One recurring motif is the 'Adagio in G Minor' by Albinoni. We were actually able to bring the CD so they could hear the song while they were discussing the book," said Brunt.

Bringing in elements like music from the book brings the story to life, Brunt said.

The organization has about 65 volunteers across Canada who run the clubs in more than a dozen prisons, including Dorchester, a medium security facility. In each prison, an inmate is assigned as an ambassador who acts as a liaison between the other inmates and the club volunteer from the other side of the bars. They also help out fellow members if they are having difficulty reading the books.

"There's mixed literacy inside institutions, as there is everywhere else, but there isn't a great high school graduation rate inside institutions," said Brunt.

Inmates are asked to come and discuss the book at the monthly meetings.

"We don't ask any questions about their personal lives," Brunt said. "We don't ask questions about their sentences or anything like that. If they want to offer details about what's going on with them, as it relates to a book, that's fine, but we don't dig for that."

He said many of the inmates describe the book club as an oasis.

"It's a space inside the penitentiary where they have a chance to discuss things in a mindful way with their peers."

The Dorchester book club is currently reading The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.

"We always start each book club with a few generic choices that might appeal to different groups. They get a sense as their own book club what they're reading which books they want to read ... we don't want to prescribe books to them," said Brunt.

The books are provided free of charge.

© 2015 Times & Transcript (Moncton)



Interested in award-winning new children’s books by Canadian authors? 

Canadian Children's Book Centre Award winners to be announced at gala events in Toronto on Nov 18th and Montreal on Nov 10th.

The Canadian Children's Book Centre (CCBC) is a national, not-for-profit organization founded in 1976 that promotes and supports the reading, writing, illustrating and publishing of Canadian books for young readers. The books nominated for the 2015 awards exemplify some of the very best work by Canadian authors and illustrators.

To find out more about The Canadian Children's Book Centre (CCBC) and see the list of nominated books for 2015, click here

Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada recognizes LCNB Past President

On November 26th, the Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada will be recognizing LCNB Past President, Honourable Marilyn Trenholme-Counsel, O.C., at their annual fundraising Gala. Full details are available here.

Community Initiatives

Elementary Literacy Inc. (ELF)
If you are interested in working with elementary students to improve their literacy skills, consider becoming a volunteer with Elementary Literacy Inc. To find out more and to register as a volunteer visit their website.
Frontier College
Frontier College is Canada’s original literacy organization. Located in Moncton and Fredericton, they offer homework and reading clubs, youth programs, one-to-one tutoring, teen programs, an adult literacy program, summer camps and much more! To find out what programs are available in your area call Frontier College at 450-7923 or visit their website.
Laubach Literacy New Brunswick (LLNB)
Laubach Literacy New Brunswick (LLNB) is a non-profit, charitable organization whose trained volunteers help New Brunswick adults improve their basic reading, writing and math skills through a free, confidential program. LLNB volunteers work one-to-one with learners, using materials relevant to learners’ literacy levels and daily lives. To learn more about Laubach Literacy New Brunswick and to become a volunteer please visit their website or contact them at 1-877-633-8899.
Learning Disabilities Association of New Brunswick (LDANB)
LDANB is proud to be offering the Barton Reading and Spelling System in the greater Fredericton area. This literacy program aims at improving the reading, spelling and writing skills of those who have a reading disability or reading difficulties.  Barton is a specialized one-on-one tutoring system based on the Orton-Gillingham method that teaches the phonemic structure of our written language using a multi-sensory approach. LCNB is proud to support LDANB by providing funding for financial subsidies for low-income families to be able to participate in this program. To find out more click here.
Saint John Learning Exchange (SJLE)
The Learning Exchange is Saint John's leader in adult education, training, and career development. They are a non-profit organization that has become an authority on innovative programming that meets the unique needs of everyone that walks through their doors. If you or someone you know is looking for support to meet academic or employment goals, they have the programming and resources you need. To learn more about the Saint John Learning Exchange visit their website.
LCNB Calendar of Events
The Literacy Coalition has a website calendar available on which you to share your community literacy events. To submit events to our calendar please send event information to To take a look at our calendar, click here.
Do you have community literacy initiatives you would like us to share?
If you are involved in or know of a literacy initiative that should be shared across the province we want to know about it! Send us an email or give us a call and we will include the information in an issue of our newsletter. We can be reached at or 1-800-563-2211.

Professional Development Opportunities


The SkillsNB program provides free online training available 24/7 to the citizens of New Brunswick. With SkillsNB, New Brunswickers can improve skills, build on existing education and work toward career goals. The SkillsNB online library includes over 6,000 resources including courses, videos, simulations, and books, with content in English and French. SkillsNB resources cover the areas of Business, IT, Desktop, Leadership, Management, Well-being and more! Visit the SkillsNB website at and click “Register”. Follow us on Twitter @skills_nb. Questions about the program or registration? Call the Program Manager at 1-844-462-1203 or email
That's it for this edition of the Literacy Coalition of New Brunswick Newsletter! We'll be back soon with more exciting news. Thanks for reading! 
Copyright © 2015 Literacy Coalition of New Brunswick, All rights reserved.

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Toll Free: 1-800-563-2211

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