2009 Council of the Federation Literacy Award Recipients
Ken Steele – Alberta
Mr. Steele left school in grade six and returned to learning in his retirement. In 2005, at the age of 74, he began attending classes at The Learning Centre Literacy Association in Edmonton. He is now a writer of short stories and poetry. As an ambassador for The Learning Centre, he shares his literacy journey with others. He was involved with the Northeast Edmonton Literacy Network, a group of agencies working to create more literacy friendly environments in the community. Mr. Steele’s positive attitude, success, openness and humility have increased understanding of the struggles of adults with low literacy. His active encouragement of literacy learners has inspired many.
Laurie Gould – British Columbia
For almost 35 years, Laurie Gould has demonstrated her commitment to literacy work. Soon after joining the Basic Education Department of Vancouver Community College in 1974, Laurie became instrumental in the early design and implementation of adult literacy programming. Since that time, she has served on numerous provincial and pan- Canadian committees related to literacy; designed innovative curriculum and assessment resources; created original reading materials for the adult literacy learner; edited health and government information for plain language; worked directly with scores of adult learners in the classroom and in assessments; and generously shared her vast expertise with colleagues throughout BC and Canada. In her 35th year working in the field, Laurie continues to serve the literacy community with a strong sense of commitment to both literacy learners and practitioners.
Donald Richard – Manitoba
Donald Richard is an adult learner and an inmate at the Winnipeg Remand Centre. Mr. Richard dropped out of school at the age of 15 and although he attempted to return to school several times, events in his life interfered and he stopped attending. He felt that he had missed his opportunity. In July 2008 he joined the John Howard Society Literacy Program that helps inmates in the Remand Centre improve their literacy skills and upgrade their education. He has moved from basic literacy to planning the steps to finish grade 12. Mr. Richard is known as the ‘go-to-guy’ on his unit for anything related to literacy. In addition to helping other inmates with their homework, he helps the teacher with marking. He is trusted and respected in the institution. Mr. Richard is now using his skills in a project to make the program more accessible to those inmates with especially low literacy skills by rewriting sections of the reading materials and contributing artwork. He is also writing and illustrating an interactive children’s book that incorporates camping and counting. To quote Mr. Richard “I have rediscovered a love for reading. I’m learning new ways to describe things and as a result I’m learning new ways to appreciate things.”