How to up Your Reading Game

We all know we should read more if we want to live a better life, but our time is limited. What if there was a shortcut, like, speed reading?


September is Literacy Month

We’d like to thank Mayor Mike Hurley for proclaiming September as Literacy Month in the City of Burnaby! As students are returning back to school this week, this proclamation by Mayor Hurley is a great reminder for all who those aren’t in the formal education system to recognize the increasing importance of literacy in their lives, and to continually work to keep improving their literacy.

“Literacy is not simply the ability to read and write, it is a key pathway for Canadians to increase opportunities and life prospects and to be successful in the modern world…”

Mike Hurley, Mayor of Burnaby

Literacy Now Burnaby is committed to helping everyone succeed at improving their literacy through the development of local literacy programs, program referrals, book donation drives, online resources, and social media outreach. Please check out our website and follow us on social media to stay up to date on all of our activities. You can also join us in celebration of literacy month by getting involved. Happy literacy month everyone!


August Hamper Week Wrap-Up

Last week, Literacy Now Burnaby volunteers worked tirelessly every day at our first Literacy Hamper Week!

Thanks to donations by First Book Canada and Read On Canada!, we distributed 100s of children’s books at Burnaby food and resource hubs.

And not only that – local residents chipped in generous book donations too, including bestsellers, fantasy, audio books, encyclopediae, crime stories, some gems from local writers, and oh so much more!

The hampers also contained literacy goodies, like writing materials, coloured pencils, and information material from local community service organizations, like the Burnaby Neighbourhood House, the Burnaby Public Library, and NewToBC, amongst others.

Thanks to all involved in making this happen! It’s a true community effort, connecting people through the joy of reading.

If you want to contribute to Literacy Now’s mission of putting A Book in Every Child’s Hand, please consider supporting the Raise-a-Reader campaign! You can find more on this fundraiser on the Literacy Now website.

An amazing week of book giveaways. Fantastic Job to all of our amazing volunteers!

Literacy for a Better World

Literacy makes our province a better place to live.

Have you ever wondered if there was a simple cure for all of society’s ills? What if you could help reduce problems like poverty, disease, environmental degradation, racism and corruption? In the real world, there is no such magic bullet, but contributing to literacy may just be one of the most effective tools to improve our world. 

Literacy is the foundation for learning that allows one to achieve goals, develop knowledge and realize one’s potential. Knowledge is power, and literacy democratizes it so that each person can become self-reliant and able to make intelligent decisions. Strong literacy skills can lead to better job skills, social skills, and self management skills to improve one’s life. This means economic gains for individuals, the companies they worked for, and the economy as a whole.

Low levels of literacy is a leading cause of societal ills such as wealth inequality, poor health, and political dysfunction. A majority of prisoners have been found to be illiterate. In developing countries, children of literate mothers are 50% more likely to live past age 5 than children of illiterate mothers. According to a study conducted by Central Connecticut State University, “Societies that do not practice literate behaviour are often squalid, undernourished in mind and body, repressive of human rights and dignity, brutal and harsh”.

But, just because one lives in a developed country, it doesn’t mean one doesn’t need to worry about literacy. According to this fact sheet from Decoda Literacy Solutions, more than 700,000 British Columbians have significant challenges with literacy. 45% of British Columbians aged 16 to 65 may have difficulty understanding newspapers, following instruction manuals, reading health information and other daily living tasks. 

Donating to the Decoda Literacy Foundation here can help make BC communities more literate. Decoda Literacy Solutions’ Raise-a-Reader campaign supports BC organizations that provide community-based literacy programs covering a wide range of program types. They include small group or one-to-one tutoring for children or adults, programs for families or seniors, workshops, seminars, and one-time events that provide information and raise awareness about the importance of literacy. 

If you’ve ever thought about donating to a good cause, why not try setting a goal to contribute a specific amount, like $5, $10 or even $20, at a specific time in the future? When you donate, you can select the specific community where your funds will go to. Please donate to help strengthen communities in British Columbia.

Please click the image to donate.

Literacy Hamper Distribution Week

Distributing literacy hampers and books on Monday, Aug 16, at the Outreach Resource Centre at Southside Community Church.
Sorting the books earlier that day at the Burnaby Neighbourhood House Community Hub.

Thanks to very generous donations, we are entering a whole week of Literacy Hamper Distribution at local Burnaby food and resource hubs!

Literacy Now received over 1,000 children’s books at the Pop Up Book Distribution by First Book Canada. Thanks to the workers at the Richmond Raincoast Books, who helped with loading the truck!

Another pallet of 1,200 books by the Read On Canada! coalition from the Canadian Children’s Literacy Foundations arrived at our doorsteps at the Burnaby Neighbourhood House this morning. Our Literacy Now “food hub librarians” received them and already started distributing, today at the Outreach Resource Centre, and with great support from the Burnaby Public Library community librarians!


Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Speaker Series

On Wednesday September 29th, from 10am to 1pm PST on Zoom, Volunteer Burnaby is hosting a focused speaker series event called “Exploring Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Non-Profit Sector.” 

This event will feature four presentations from our remarkable speakers: 

Rachelle Dallaire, Executive Director of Indigenous Perspectives Society.

Ruth Mojeed Ramirez, Chief Equity Officer of The Inclusion Project.

Dr. Moussa Magassa, Human Rights Educator at the University of Victoria and co-chair of Resilience BC.

And a Member of Volunteer Canada’s Speaker Bureau to be announced!

You can purchase your tickets at:

Follow Volunteer Burnaby on: 


Multilingual Resources at the BPL!

Are you raising a multilingual child in Canada? Do you worry that your child might lose their home language or not learn English well enough? Children in multilingual families are challenged with the difficult task of learning more than one language at once.

The Burnaby Public Library (BPL) and Literacy Now Burnaby is committed to helping multilingual families cope with this challenge by providing resources and workshops that guide them towards the best possible solutions. There are many resources such as books and digital information at the Burnaby Public Library that can help support your child’s first language while helping them learn about other cultures. The library also holds workshops that offer assistance on finding these resources while sharing tips and practical information for raising multilingual children. 

Below, we have prepared several links to BPL resources for multilingual families.

Books on Raising Bilingual or Multilingual Children (For parents)
Bilingual Books for Kids (Books where all the words are in two languages)
Books in Different Languages

In addition, here are some excellent tips on raising multilingual children:

Parents Canada’s “Tips For Raising A Multilingual Child”
21 Insightful Tips to Raise a Trilingual Child

To find out more about workshops and upcoming events at BPL, please log onto the library’s website or Twitter Page.  


Wildfires and Environmental Literacy

Did you know that on Tuesday, July 20, 2021, the Province of BC has declared a state of emergency due to the many wildfires that are currently spreading throughout the province? With fires returning to our forests this year, we’re once again reminded to acknowledge the importance of environmental literacy. 

Environmental literacy is having the knowledge and skills that enables you to make responsible decisions with regards to our relationships to nature, communities and future generations. With fires and heat waves increasing in frequency, we can’t help but wonder what the future holds for our planet. 

But what if there are things you can do right now to stop climate change? This article by David Suzuki, which we have summarized below, lists the 10 things you can do to fight climate change: 

1. Call for stronger government action on climate change with your voice and your vote.   

2. Conserve energy wherever you can.

3. Switch to renewable energy.

4. Eat more climate friendly meals including organic, local, and meat free foods.

5. Start conversations with your peers about climate.

6. Green your commute by using more low pollution transportation alternatives.

7. Consume less, waste less, and enjoy life more.

8. Invest in renewables and divest from fossil fuels.

9. Participate in local climate action movements.

10. Get politically active and vote.

In addition, stay up to date with important climate issues by exercising your environmental literacy, digital literacy and overall literacy. We encourage you to check out the rest of our website for more information!


Literacy Now Burnaby is Growing!

As COVID-19 restrictions are easing, we are again out and about, and on Wednesday, July 14, 2021, we gave away over 300 books at the Burnaby Neighbourhood House South Food Hub.

This time with support of our own team of dedicated Literacy Now volunteers, we worked tirelessly in hot weather in 2 shifts to continue with our mission to put a book in each child’s hand.

We’d like to express our special gratitude to 5 anonymous community members for their generous donations of bestseller books, puzzles, and board games! 

Follow us on social media to stay up to date on all of our activities. We’ve got plenty of great things in store! 


Book Donation for Literacy Hampers

Thanks to the Chilliwack Learning Society for the generous book donation for our Literacy Hampers.
For now, these and many other books are sitting in boxes at the Burnaby Neighbourhood House, waiting to be distributed safely as soon as the situation gets better! Stay healthy – keep on reading.