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Community Settlement Fair – Thank You

Thank you to everyone who attended the Community Settlement Fair today, we hope you all learned some new information.

We would also like to extend a big Thank You to all the speakers who volunteered their time to speak!

Lisa @ The City of Fort St. John –  Community Connections

Irina & Sydney @ MNP – The Canadian Tax System

Morgan @ FSJ Public Library – Community Connections

Annette @ Employment Connections Work BC – Labour Market Demands in Northeast BC

Cpl. Steven Francoeur @ RCMP – An introduction to RCMP in FSJ

Susie @ T.R.U.E. North Immigration Consulting – Family Sponsorship

Jeff @ MacLean Law – Family Law in Canada


Thank you again to the sponsors who helped make this event possible:

Employment Connections WorkBC

School Dist # 60 – SWIS (Settlement Workers in Schools)

Community Settlement Fair this Saturday

Learn about some of the resources Fort St. John has to offer in a mini trade fair set up, as well as more in depth presentations on the following topics:

The Canadian Tax System
Community Connections
Labour Market Demands in Northeast BC
Introduction to RCMP in FSJ
Community Literacy Programs
Family Sponsorship
Family Law in Canada

Registration is REQUIRED (FREE to attend, lunch will be provided)

Please call 250-785-2110 to register

2018 Spelling Bee – Registration Now Open

Enjoy a FREE afternoon of entertainment, education and prizes!

The Fort St John Literacy Society is busy planning the 2nd annual Spelling Bee, with the proceeds going towards fulfilling the mission of the Literacy Society and expanding the FREE programs offered to the community.

This year’s event will be held on Saturday April 21, 2018 at the Lido Theater in Fort St John.

For more information and registration email

Literacy Society Looking for Volunteer Tutors

  • Do you have spare time in your life?
  • Are you looking for a rewarding way to spend your time?
  • Do you enjoy helping others and supporting your community?
  • If you said YES to any of these questions, then this opportunity is for you!
  • For more information:
  • Call 250-785-2110 Or email 

Fort St. John Literacy Society AGM

The Fort St. John Literacy Society will host their

Annual General Meeting

Tuesday December 5th @ 6:00 pm at

Northern Lights College in room 100.

9820 120 Avenue, Fort St. John, V1J 6KI


Please R.S.V.P. to Jessica by November 29 on 250-785-2110 or email

Literacy Society is Hiring a Literacy Program Coordinator

The Fort St. John Literacy is seeking an energetic and creative part time Literacy Program Coordinator to facilitate and expand literacy programs, workshops, and events.  The successful candidate will recruit, train, and support volunteer tutors as well as assess the needs of both immigrant learners and Canadian born learners who are seeking to upgrade their basic literacy skills. They will be responsible for coordinating and implementing various literacy programs with a focus on our Community Adult Learning Program and Computer Skills Class. In addition, they will provide on-going support; assist with written reports, and literacy promotion through building positive relations in the community.

Position requirements:

  • Diploma or degree in teaching or social work related field preferred
  • Teaching and/or program coordination experience would be an asset
  • Experience working with volunteers considered an asset
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office
  • Excellent communication skills- both oral and written
  • Highly motivated and able to work under minimum supervision
  • Organizational and time management skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Positive and professional attitude
  • Team player
  • Ethical and honest

Terms of employment:

  • 20h/week, flexible schedule, some evenings may be required
  • wage $24- $27/hour depending on qualification and experience
  • criminal record check required

How to apply:

Literacy Society hosts Spelling Bee October 11th

The Fort St John Literacy Society is busy planning the reestablishment of our Spelling Bee, with the proceeds going towards fulfilling the mission of the Literacy Society. This year’s event will be held on October 11, 2017 at the Lido Theater in Fort St John. Enjoy a night of entertainment, education and prizes!

Pre-registration is required!!!

For more information and registration email or call 250-785-2110

Fort St John Literacy Society is dedicated to promoting a client centered vision of literacy to community through the delivery of programs and lifelong learning opportunities. We accomplish this by; promoting access to literacy programs, assisting in the development of community literacy activities, promoting public awareness of literacy issues and developing partnerships with local regional and governmental organizations. Literacy programs have a significant impact, bettering the economic, social and civic life of our community.

Fort St. John Literacy Society Welcomes Jessica Kalman as Executive Director

The Fort St. John Literacy Society is thrilled to announce the appointment of Jessica Kalman as Executive Director and Literacy Outreach Coordinator of the Society effective Monday August 28, 2017.

Jessica brings with her a wealth of knowledge and fresh ideas on ways to grow the society, to ensure the mission of promoting a client centered vision of literacy through the delivery of programs and lifelong learning opportunities continues to be the focus of the Society.

“The board is very pleased to add Jessica Kalman to the Fort St John Literacy Society.  Jessica brings her years of non-profit experience and we look forward to working with her in improving the Society for the people of Fort St. John” said Carl Waddington, Board Chair.

Jessica is excited to take on this new role in the nonprofit world.  “I am thrilled to be working with the community, organizations, and team here at the Society to make a positive impact on literacy in our community. Literacy programs focusing on speaking, understanding and writing English, improving computer skills and encouraging others to socially interact and practice their learning all have a significant impact bettering the economic, civic and social life of our community,” says Kalman.

The Fort St. John Literacy Society is a non-profit organization which has been dedicated to promoting literacy for all individuals and groups throughout Fort St. John and the local region since 1990.

For more information, please call the FSJ Literacy Society office at 250-785-2110

Fort St. John Literacy Society Open House

The Fort St. John Literacy Society will be hosting an open house on Wednesday September 13th 9 am-6 pm.  Join us at 10142 101 Avenue, Fort St. John in the Community Bridge Building.

Have you ever wondered what the Fort St. John Literacy Society does for you and your community?

Are you interested in the programs and events the Fort St. John Literacy Society offers?
Are you interested in giving back to your community by becoming a volunteer tutor?
Would you like to have your voice heard by becoming a member?

Here is your chance to learn about the Fort St. John Literacy Society!!

When Multicultural Literature Is at a Crossroads With Its Readers



Elementary school curricula include reading texts that introduce students to a wide variety of cultures. It seems like such a great idea! However, these stories may compound the problems of struggling readers by throwing in words from other cultures without enough context, making comprehension even more difficult. For instance, a group of ­urban, African-American students were reading a multicultural story in which one sentence caused considerable stress for the third-grade readers: “Mother wrapped the cassava bread in banana leaves and packed guavas for lunch.” The struggling third graders could not decode wrapped, with its peculiarly silent w, and had no comprehension of the direct object of the unknown verb because they stumbled over cassava (the students sounded it out well, but did not recognize any meaning). When asked why the mother wrapped the bread in foil, the students responded that they didn’t know. The teacher told the students that the mother had not used foil, but something else. The students had gleaned so little meaning from that single sentence that they didn’t know the question the teacher had posed was nonsensical.

The teacher read the sentence aloud to the students. She asked again about wrapping the bread: Why did the mother wrap the bread in banana leaves? One student finally stated with a mimed demonstration that it would be tough to wrap bread in such skinny things. Lavell was linking the sentence to the only related experience he had, the narrow strips of skin from peeling a banana. The teacher then asked why it was that the mother had not used foil or even a bread bag. The students again had no idea.

Use pictures

The teacher encouraged the students to look at the picture. The students couldn’t understand why because there was no lunch preparation going on. Another student eventually said to the teacher, “The kids don’t even have shoes!” The teacher enthusiastically told the students that this observation was on the right track and asked what else they could tell about the family. A student said the family lived in a shack. Another noticed the pots did not look like they had been made in a factory or sold in a store. The teacher wondered if the family would then have plastic bags and foil. The students agreed that they might not—but leaves? Why would the bread have to be wrapped, and why use leaves? A third student said the bread would dry out if it wasn’t wrapped and, shrugging, she observed that leaves were all over in the picture and the mother probably had to use what was available. The students were really excited about their deductions. Their excitement soon soured when they looked over at the other group of children working with the teacher aide and said, “The others have read the whole story already!”

Challenges of time and comparison

Teachers know how to help students build comprehension, but such achievement takes time—time to explore what is already known, examine pictures, make connections, and help students conquer the text. Teachers feel enormous pressure to move through grade-level material at a rate that ensures finishing the text and provides students with exposure to all of the concepts introduced in the texts. Annual tests designed to prove “adequate” progress reinforce this sense of pressure—the burden that children feel to keep pace with their peers is substantial. No one knew if the other group had read the story with comprehension or just plugged along until they got to the end; nonetheless, the students were upset that their group was taking too long on a single part of just one sentence.

Inner city students know many things

This anecdote does not suggest that the inner-city, African-American third graders described here know nothing; that is far from the truth. However, they did not have the contextual knowledge to make sense of the story, a problem any student could have when reading multicultural tales. Multicultural literature, so often praised, may actually cause more stumbling and may decrease reading efficacy. The author’s and publisher’s intent—to provide students with vicarious experiences of cultures and locations other than their own—is counteracted by the difficulty experienced by readers who already lack some of the skills needed to read at grade level.

Take the time, reuse color pictures

The solution is for teachers to take all the time necessary for true reading comprehension and confidence, showing students that what they know (bread dries out if unwrapped) is important even when a story seems irrelevant to their lived experiences. Teachers should also use pictures as often as possible. Color pictures matter, especially to kinesthetic learners. Sharing one color picture of unfamiliar items is worth the cost of ink. Teachers can glue the color pictures into file folders with labels that can be stored and located for reuse. The file folders also help the pictures stand up to being passed around and handled.

Opening a multicultural world is possible for all learners.

margaret carroll headshotMargaret Carroll, Ed.D., is a professor of education at Saint Xavier University, teaching courses in special education and instructional methods.

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