Frontier College commends Government support for literacy in federal budget, now critically important in wake of pandemic

Toronto, April 22, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Frontier College is pleased to see that the Federal Government has earmarked $298 million over three years for a new Skills for Success program.

“Literacy is a more significant issue in Canada than many people realize,” says Stephen Faul, CEO, Frontier College. “We are now seeing research that shows that people who struggled with literacy before the pandemic will struggle even more going forward. The resulting decline in children’s literacy skills will have a dramatic effect on Canada’s social and economic future.”

According to a recent UNESCO report, school-aged learners affected by school closures because of the pandemic might face some 3% lower income over their lifetimes. If learners in primary grades do not read at grade level by the end of the school year, Canadian schools will see a greater number of struggling readers in the upper grades—where difficulty reading and writing puts them at risk of leaving school early and/or being less prepared for post-secondary education or avoiding it altogether. 

Despite the pandemic, Frontier College, Canada’s oldest literacy organization, continues to offer free, community-based programs to children, youth, and adults. Literacy and numeracy support is delivered by a nationwide network of over 1400 volunteers. Volunteers are trained by Frontier College and meet with learners in one-to-one or in small groups sessions, by phone and online. They also prepare and deliver learning materials including new, quality books to households.

“I can see the difference we are making in the lives of our learners. It’s such a joy to witness how happy they feel when we are together. Children really appreciate having a regular person meet with them every week when the attention is exclusively on them, and where they have an opportunity to guide their own learning,” says Annie Beatty, volunteer with Frontier College.

Understanding that parents and caregivers are incredibly busy right now, Frontier College offers these tips to get kids reading:

  • Think about what interests your children (start with their hobbies) and find materials to read aloud (i.e. magazines, flyers, and newspaper articles).
  • Encourage older children to read to younger children. Both develop their reading skills through this experience.
  • If you are in the car encourage children to read street signs.
  • If your family receives greeting cards, have your children read them aloud, or help them create their own personal greeting cards and write messages to family and friends.
  • Ask your children to help make a grocery list or read food labels.
  • Encourage your children to read recipes and help with the measuring and baking.

For more activities, visit:

Since March 2020, Frontier College has moved many in-person programs to new online platforms, providing over 5,000 learners with the support they need.


About Frontier College

Frontier College is a national charitable literacy organization, established in 1899 on the belief that literacy is a right. We work collaboratively with community-based agencies to provide targeted, innovative literacy and numeracy support for individuals throughout Canada. Each year, over 40,000 children, youth, and adults participate in our free programs in more than 150 communities throughout the country. For more information about Frontier College visit and follow @frontiercollege on Twitter.

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