P.E.I. book club raising funds for literacy

The PEI Book Broads book club hopes to inspire others to read and write for the first time by fundraising money for the PEI Literacy Alliance.

PEI Book Broads book club hopes to inspire others to read and write

'It's fostered my reading even more and kind of rekindled my love,' Laura Hogan says of her book club. (Pexels via CC0)

For the longest time, Laura Hogan neglected to read.

She loved it as a child but made it less of a priority later on — until she joined a book club.

"I knew it would give me a deadline and give me a reason to read," she said.

"And so it's done that and more. It's fostered my reading even more and kind of rekindled my love."

Book Broads members Laura Hogan and Selina Pellerin hope others will join in on their fundraising efforts for literacy. (Matt Rainnie/CBC)

Raising money for literacy

Now Hogan and fellow members of the PEI Book Broads book club hope to inspire others to read and write by fundraising money for the PEI Literacy Alliance.

Selina Pellerin, another member of the book club, said the idea for the fundraiser came up when Book Broads celebrated its third anniversary.

"Laura highlighted the fact that the club had been together for three years and to mark the occasion and given the time of the year we thought it might be nice to give a donation," she said.

They invited other book clubs to join in the fundraiser and learned that Bookmark, a Charlottetown book store, wants to contribute.

"They've generously donated $500, provided we raise that much as well," said Pellerin.

"We are just really pleased to be able to share our love of learning and our love of reading with others in the community."

Many Islanders below literacy benchmark

The PEI Literacy Alliance promotes tutoring and learner programs for children and adults. It also raises awareness of the impact on people's lives if they cannot read or write.

In a recent interview with CBC, Amanda Beazley, the acting executive director, said the province had a rate of 45 per cent illiteracy among 16-65 year old Islanders.

This was based on a study done in 2012 by Statistics Canada and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, she said.

"Years ago there were levels established, there were levels one through five, level three was deemed the benchmark," explained Beazley.

"That was the level you needed to be at to fully participate in society. So you're looking at levels one and two, those levels, that 45 per cent, there are even some below level one."

"Not being able to access information from print, and get the information they need and be able to apply it to problem solving and real world working."

$900 raised already

The fundraiser has also received a generous donation from Reading Between the Wines, another PEI book club, bringing total donations to $900 so far.

Another member of the club also collected books from her family and friends and made a donation to the youth-reading program at the food bank, she said.

The club hopes that others will join in, either by donating on their own or contacting them through Facebook.

"I think literacy, at times in our lives, we probably have taken for granted," she said.

"But when we sit as a book club and kind of reflect, wow, what reading has added to our lives, our education, we want that to be available to everyone," said Hogan.

"And the PEI Literacy Alliance really does help bring people up to speed or introduce people to reading in a way that they can enrich their own lives."

With files from Island Morning