By Goat Staff

The annual Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) Books for Kids campaign is now underway. This fall fundraising campaign helps CBAL to deliver family literacy programs and services in 77 communities across the Columbia Basin and Boundary. 

“We know getting children excited about reading and learning is where it all begins,” a CBAL press release says. “Literacy programs for children help to build the necessary foundational skills required for future learning and this in turn leads to greater success in life.”

A literate society is a successful one, according to Canadian economist and president of Alexander Economic Views, Craig Alexander. 

This past spring, Alexander made a presentation at the Decoda Literacy Conference in Richmond where he spoke about how low literacy levels negatively impact our Canadian economy. As the world moves into the post-pandemic state, the labour market is shifting. In Canada, jobs are becoming more technical, which requires higher literacy, numeracy, and technology skills than ever before.

We need highly skilled workers, but many people fall short when it comes to literacy and numeracy, Alexander says. In 2012 a report by The Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, 48.5 per cent of Canadians have below desired literacy skills and 54.7 per cent have below the necessary numeracy skills.

A recent Canada West Foundation report suggested raising literacy rates by one per cent could increase productivity by five per cent and the Gross Domestic Product by three per cent. 

The implication is that the total return on raising literacy is worth multi-billions to the economy.

Not only do people with strong literacy and numeracy excel in the workplace, but they also enjoy better health outcomes and are more likely to experience equity and participate actively in their community.

“Encouraging, promoting and delivering lifelong learning opportunities is our contribution to creating healthy and vibrant communities,” says CBAL’s Executive Director Desneiges Profili. “When people have strong literacy skills, they also have the tools to lead successful and meaningful lives for themselves and their families.”

Now in its 12th year, the Books for Kids campaign supports local, community-based family literacy programs. 

Last year, more than $50,000 was raised to support the delivery of hundreds of family literacy programs and purchase over 6,000 books and resources.

To support the Books for Kids campaign, you can donate online, purchase some literacy socks or order a “Love2Learn” t-shirt. For more information visit All funds raised in a community will stay in that community to support local family literacy initiatives.

Books for Kids is a collaborative effort between Black Press, Columbia Valley Pioneer and the Rocky Mountain Goat newspapers, Blue Sky Clothing Co. and credit unions from across the Basin and Boundary.