Pembina Valley- Literacy Skills A Road To Success
February 18, 2020
Attending adult literacy classes isn’t only for people learning English for the first time; it’s also an opportunity for anyone to bring their reading and writing skills to the next level.
Regional Connections offers two programs, Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) and Adult Literacy, which is for newcomers and residents alike.
Literacy is a huge part of life, and according to Albert Guenter; not only did taking the program help both his reading and writing, but it also sparked a passion that wasn’t there before.
“I did not like reading or writing whatsoever, because I didn’t know the language very well. When you try to read, and you can’t read very well, you don’t want to read because you don’t understand it. As we’ve gone along, Jamie has taught us so much, and she would give us books just so we could get the hang of it, and it was cool. I like reading now.”
Jamie Friesen-Pankratz is the Adult Literacy Instructor, and the spark of passion shows up quickly in many of her students. She attributes this to a community that forms within the class, feeding off each other’s desires and excitement for a new chapter in their lives.
As people’s passions grow for reading and writing and their skills improve, Friesen-Pankratz says it directly impacts their confidence.
“We think about those hard skills, being able to read, write, and communicate, and can you do, or can you not do it? One thing I’ve noticed a lot when you evaluate a class, people will say, ‘I’m confident now. I used not to go out, or I used to think I couldn’t speak to a certain person because I didn’t know enough. I can do that now, and what this class has taught me is I can do those things.'”
Friesen-Pankratz thinks the social/emotional impact of improved confidence from literacy is equal to or greater than the ability to read and write itself.
The goal of completing the three-level literacy program is to move to an Adult Learning Centre, such as Red River or Morden Adult Education. For a student to graduate with a mature student diploma, they require eight credits. An exciting part of the three-level Adult Literacy program at Regional Connections is that assignments in the third level can count towards one credit.
Now in level 2, Guenter says although it can be scary to take the first step of walk into the classroom on the first day, he recommends the program for any looking to take steps to improve their lives and believes he is now on the road to success.
“For people like me, I think if there wasn’t a school like this, I don’t see how we could succeed. Now, I can see the right path, and I believe one day, I will be a Registered Nurse.”