Innovative Programs continue at CIES with the help of Calgary Learns

CIES is very excited to announce the funding of two of the newest programs at our schools, Computer Access for Literacy Learners (CALL) and the Reading Room, both made possible by the generous support of Calgary Learns.

Computer Access for Literacy Learners (CALL)             

Computer Access for Literacy Learners is designed to provide essential computer literacy skills to literacy-level, economically disadvantaged, low-skilled and unemployed newcomer and Canadian adults residing in the Forest Lawn and Whitehorn communities. This 30-hour program will feature hands-on learning activities delivered in a literacy-friendly and demonstrative style by an experienced literacy-level instructor. The program focuses on the basics of computer and digital interface operation, internet search and MS Office operation, and the use of social media for everyday basic communication, with emphasis on the navigation of resources in English.  Key tasks during lessons include basic job searches in English for keywords specific to their preferred profession, use of ATMs, the search for bus and transportation information and scheduling, and other such everyday tasks.  The program will train 96 participants across our southeast and northeast locations each year.

For newcomers, in addition to the barrier of computer literacy, they face that of language.  For some individuals such as those who came to Canada as refugees, the language barrier is particularly daunting.  These two barriers can combine to form a seemingly insurmountable obstacle to their successful economic and social integration. CALL is a program developed by experienced Literacy-Level teachers and computer skills trainers. It addresses the combined barrier of computer and language literacy, empowering newcomers in the lower range of LINC proficiency levels (select students from Literacy 3-4 and CLB 2-3) with fundamental digital technology skills essential in gaining a footing in Canadian society. Its intended simplicity will also make it accessible and useful for more established Calgarians who seek to gain essential computer access training. This program builds upon the positive aspects of CIES’s previous foundational computer training program, and draws on the Society’s depth of expertise and experience in language literacy education.

The Reading Room

Funding from Calgary Learns makes possible the continuation of one of our newest and most popular programs – the Reading Room. This program was previously supported by the University of Calgary Students’ Union’s Committee of 10,000 and will only be available at our northeast location.

Over 150 adult language learners registered for LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) classes at CIES require literacy level support – they are primarily refugees and other newly arrived immigrants. Some of these learners possess severe limitations in their educational and reading-related skills and are distributed through LINC classes from Literacy levels 1 to 4.  They and similarly-profiled clients from other service providers who do not offer one-on-one tutoring constitute the primary target audience for this new program. The ability to use and understand written information is fundamental to employment, the performance of everyday essential tasks, as well as being able to interact socially in the broader community. The mission of the Reading Room is to provide quality instructional reading to reinforce literacy-level learning amongst CIES clients through a one-on-one tutorial context.  Students recommended to the Reading Room are those who require additional guidance in reading and comprehension skills because of limited functional literacy for a variety of reasons, such as having had little education or interrupted education in their countries of origin, possessing a learning disability, or having experienced trauma affecting their ability to learn.

Participants in the previous 2016 pilot of the Reading Room at CIES, who often had little, interrupted or no education, were identified by their LINC Literacy level teachers as ones who could most benefit from additional one-on-one attention.  These individuals eventually demonstrated a notable degree of improvement over those that have not had a similar degree of additional, individualized tutoring.  Thanks to this program, 30 teacher-identified low-literacy (Literacy 1 to 4) adult learners will be provided with 45 minutes of weekly individualized language tutoring to acquire the necessary linguistic skills to function successfully in Calgary society in their day to day lives. There will be two Reading Room intakes for the program’s duration, with the second one occurring 6 months after the start of the first intake.  At the end of the program 60 refugees and newcomers struggling in Literacy Level LINC/ESL classes will have had tutoring on the language skills they need to keep pace with the rest of their classmates as well as the demands of Canadian society and economy. At this time the program will be offered only at our northeast Welcome Centre location.

For more information on these and other programs, visit our Programs webpage here.


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