What is literacy? If you are reading this, then you likely have some idea because you are practicing literacy right now. Literacy is the ability to read and write. Many people incorporate computer use into the definition of literacy too because of the advancement of technology and how heavily we rely on it as a society. The Government of Canada has identified and defined nine skills essential to possess in the workplace; reading, writing, and computer use make up three of them! You will need to know how to write in order to create memos, notes, and documents. Reading is important for understanding signs, following directions or recipes, and for acquiring information from text. And finally, computer use is an important skill to possess so that you know how to type on a keyboard, create a Word document or resume, send an email, and/or even operate a cash register. These skills can be observed in almost every different type of job. So, it is very important that people develop these skills in order to respond, adjust, and advance appropriately in the workplace. These skills are called essential skills because they are…well, essential. They form the basis for acquiring new skills and will empower you to confidently navigate changes in your personal and professional life.


In terms of your professional life, it is not only important to know how to read, write, and use the computer, but also to know the lexicon, acronyms, and jargon of your bailiwick. For example, let’s pretend that you want to obtain a job in the field of career development. If you spent one day in a career development office, you would hear acronyms such as PD, MBTI, CCDP, CV, CDC, and SMART Goals. You would also hear specific jargon such as informational interviews, labour market research, and attrition. These acronyms and jargon terms are merely a few examples of a long list that make up a career development practitioners lexicon. When applying for jobs, your use of these words and acronyms will make others perceive you as competent and knowledgeable.


On January 27th Family Literacy Day is celebrated. Family Literacy Day is a national awareness initiative created by ABC Life Literacy Canada in 1999. This dedicatory day is held annually to raise awareness of the importance of literacy and teaching these skills to individuals as early as possible.


There are many resources available to help make learning to read, write, and use the computer fun for everyone! For example, you could check out ABC Fast Phonics to learn the basics, including rules for vowels, consonants, and blends in a very easy way. You could check out Grammar Girl for some quick and dirty tips on grammar, punctuation, and usage. To expand your vocabulary, check out Free Rice where every time you get a correct answer, the site donates 10 grains of rice to the World Food Programme to help end hunger. Visit GCF Learn Free to develop your skills in reading and computer use. Or, check out Lynda (which is free with a New Westminster Public Library card) to develop your skills in communications or technology.


At Fraser Works Co-op, we wanted to help you get started on the right foot, so we created a simple rhyme in celebration of Family Literacy Day. Enjoy!



Can be easy peasy

You must learn to read

Start with A B C D!


Once you can read

You can enter a dream

That transports you away

When you’re having a blue day


Then you will write

Oh what a sight!

Your printing and cursive

Will be so impressive


People will notice

You’ll rise like the lotus

People thought you’d never

But you always knew better


The day will arrive

When you must learn to thrive

With a job and a car

You will go so far


Because you learned to read

You will surly succeed!


You’ll read symbols and signs

Write memos and lines

Make documents and reports

Buy a grand house with even a carport!


Your vocabulary must grow

You’ll demonstrate what you know

You’ll continuously learn

You will get your turn


To rise to the top

You won’t be a flop

Literacy will be with you

All your life through


When your friends are all gone

Your literacy will stay strong

With stories and poems

You won’t be alone


You’ll look back on your life

Of course you had strife

But what was great?

You put illiteracy in checkmate


Because you learned to read

You did surly succeed!


Written by: Neely Hazell, Community Relations Coordinator