Why a literacy awareness campaign needsto engage youth
by Sarah Elaine Eaton, PhD.
If you are putting together an literacy awareness campaign, whetherit focuses on adult literacy or any other kind of literacy (numeracy,ﬁnancial literacy, health literacy, technology literacy... you get theidea) it is important toengage youth in theprocess too. Why? Tworeasons. First off, theyare the adults of tomorrow. Secondly, wehave seen trends whereyouth inﬂuence andeducate adults on majorshifts in thinking. Whereadults get entrenched,youth and teens haveopen minds.Let's look at a couple of concrete examples. In the late 1970s metricwas introduced to Canada. A major campaign was launched at alllevels, including youth. I was a youngster growing up in Canada atthe time. In school were given rulers, measuring cups and spoons totake home. I remember teaching my Mom how to use the newmeasuring spoons and cups. We looked at recipes together andﬁgured out how to translate old measurements into new and viceversa. I wasn't alone. My classmates were doing the same thing. Thechildren of that era engaged their parents on what metric was andhow it worked. Now metric is an integrated part of Canadian life.In the 1990s, a similar thing happened with the recyclingmovement, not only in Canada, but in the U.S.A. and various othercountries, too. While the end objective was to get families andadults to recycle, the movement was actually led by the youth andteens who learned about it in school and took action. They educatedtheir parents and other adults about the need for recycling. Now that
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