Imagine: A reality TV show for literacy?

September 5, 2011

I don’t watch a lot of TV. Or at least, I didn’t a few years ago. My other half, however, is a television disciple. I have two degrees in literature and I liken his knowledge of television and movies to my knowledge of literature. He knows just about every major television show and movie ever produced, when it was produced, who directed it, who the actors are, and what other shows the actors have appeared in. He also picks up on cameo appearances of the director or the writer. He instantly understands intertextual references between shows (except that he calls them “Easter eggs”) and can point out in a second when a show makes reference to a show or movie before it. He’s really brilliant at this stuff.

I, being a somewhat stereotypical academic I suppose, tend not to watch much TV. But because it’s important to my other half, we sit down and watch TV. He works hard to find shows I like. We have found common ground in some competitive reality TV shows. Top Chef Canada was one of our recent favorites.

Competitors who excel in their field are gathered and given challenges. They compete against the clock and against one another in order to prove their skills. They are judged by experts in the field. Their work is critiqued, praised, applauded and trashed — all in the matter of a few minutes. Every week, a chef is sent home. No competitor escapes criticism and no one is ever perfect. Even the last chef standing has experienced harsh criticism from the judges and has been trashed by their fellow competitors. Despite it all, they continue to focus on producing their best work, every single time.

Imagine if there was a reality TV show for literacy programs. An episode might go something like this:

“Competitors: Your challenge this week is to develop a 3-hour workshop to teach adults how to write a resume. You will have 12 adults in your class, with reading levels between IALSS levels 2 and 3. Your budget is $50. You have 1 hour to prepare your workshop. The winner will receive a $5000 prize to make their workshop a reality. Your time starts… now!”

There would be no whining about a lack of funding. There would be no grumbling about being overworked. There would be no complaining about there not being enough time. There would be energy, hard work, inspiration, creativity, a deep sense of purpose and a heightened awareness of urgency to produce something amazing with severe financial and time restraints.

Imagine if we worked as if we were on a TV reality show… pushing ourselves to produce consistently outstanding results under ridiculously difficult circumstances, working through the fatigue, ignoring the trash talking by others and the lack of resources, time and budget.

There’s never enough time, never enough money and never enough resources. That is, after all, our reality, isn’t it? Passion, creativity and purpose drive what we do. It’s when we expect reality to be something other than what it really is that we lose our sense of urgency and purpose, let frustration take over… and emotionally, mentally or literally, we get voted out.

Accepting the limitations of any given situation can either mean giving in or using those same limitations as a challenge to fuel your own inner drive.

Achieve the impossible because of the circumstances, not despite them.

Be the star of your own reality show.


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Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

How to Market Your Literacy or Language Program (Free 5-part video series)

May 30, 2011

I’m happy to share this 5-part video series that was recorded live at the 2010 Spotlight on Learning Conference, held in Toronto, Canada by the Ontario Literacy Coalition.

I did a one-hour presentation on how to promote literacy and language programs. The conference organizers videotaped the session and are sharing it publicly. You can consider this a one-hour crash course in marketing:

Low-cost High-Impact Marketing for Literacy Programs – Part 1

Low-cost High-Impact Marketing for Literacy Programs – Part 2

Low-cost High-Impact Marketing for Literacy Programs – Part 3

Low-cost High-Impact Marketing for Literacy Programs – Part 4

Low-cost High-Impact Marketing for Literacy Programs – Part 5

Related posts:


Share this post: How to Market Your Literacy or Language Program (Free 5-part video series)

Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

Hate the idea of marketing education? There’s an alternative…

May 9, 2011

Alberta Languages Initiative - Language Learning - Second LanguagesWhen I was starting my PhD program in 2005 I was planning to research the marketing of a new government initiative in Alberta that would have brought in mandatory second language students for all students in grades four to nine across the province. The Ministry of Education had prepared a “Tool Kit” for schools, which was a set of advertisements to be included in school newsletters, stock articles that could be printed and sent home to parents, slide presentations that could be given at information sessions and a few other resources for schools they could use to promote the new initiative. My research was going to involve working with schools to find out how they implemented this Tool Kit and marketed the languages initiative.

The second edition of 101 Ways to Market Your Language Program had just come out and I was excited to start my research.

A conversation with one of the Russian professors at the university changed everything for me. She asked what I was going to research and when I told her it was the marketing of the soon-to-be-rolled-out Languages Initiative, she said, “This isn’t marketing. It’s propaganda. Trust me, we Russians know all about propaganda. When the government tells you that you must do something and they make all kinds of posters and do news articles to try and convince you it is a good thing, that’s not marketing. Don’t get me wrong. I like the idea of the Languages Initiative. I believe that everyone should learn a second language… But make no mistake. What you’re studying is the propaganda around a new government program.”

She was right.

I was so excited about the thought of second language learning coming to all Alberta schools, I lost sight of the very essence of marketing: choice.

The idea of marketing as a business practice today dates back hundreds of years when farmers and other vendors would take their wares to the market in the town square and sell them. “To take items to market” is one of the definitions offered by the Oxford English Dictionary (Eaton, 2009, p. 189). From there vendors would compete for customers’ money in a variety of ways… displaying their products attractively, calling out to customers to buy their wares and so forth. The line between marketing and selling gets blurred at that point. But at the very core of it all is that people have a choice.

Yes, I want this product. No, I prefer that product.

We don’t like the word “propaganda” in the Western world. It has echoes of the Nazi regime and its associated horrors, of foreign governments (and possibly our own) that pit us against one another as human beings as if we were animals, ultimately trying to convince us that “we” are good and “they” are bad; whoever “they” are (it changes depending on which government is issuing the propaganda). It is designed to convince us, not to invite us to question and explore.

Governments, school boards and other institutions mandate policies that require convincing people to “buy into” the idea. Propaganda isn’t always bad. Campaigns promoting the law that people have to buckle their seat belts are essentially propaganda. At the heart of it, people don’t really have much of a choice. There are punishments (fines and possible jail sentences) if people don’t comply. Seat belt laws are designed to protect us and they’re there for our own good. It’s not really open to debate. We may call it “propaganda” or we may call it by its newer, more culturally palatable name, “communications”, but the bottom line is, it’s not marketing.

In terms of education, there are mandatory aspects of education that we generally consider good. You may have read my recent rant against the abolition of mandatory second language learning in Calgary’s elementary public schools. Basically, my point was that our local school board was targeting second language programs in the wake of massive financial cutbacks. They weren’t making all subjects voluntary. Sciences, math and other subjects are still mandatory. Its just the second language programs that are being offered as a “choice”. Having some subjects as mandatory and some subjects as a choice in elementary school setting is not something we have typically done. School boards are charged with the responsibility of providing a solid foundation in important subjects to children that they can build on in later grades. At that age, educational experts are charged with the responsibility of educating them and making that choice on their behalf. It’s never really been open to debate.

Marketing, by its very nature (and if it is held true to form) involves research, exploration and questioning… What will people choose? Why will they choose it? What do they want? Why do they want it?

Marketing of education is a tricky thing… There’s a fine balance between what’s mandatory (or what should be) and what governments, school boards and institutions of higher learning decide to give people a choice about. Olga, the Russian professor who cautioned me about confusing “propaganda” with “marketing” was right.

As it turned out, in 2006 there was a change of Ministers and the Alberta Languages Initiative was canned. The Tool Kit was all but shelved and although a few school boards kept the mandate of second language learning, many did not. Learning a second language in Alberta continues to remain optional in many areas. People debated whether language learning should be optional or not… This debate has always fascinated me.

Nevertheless, the implosion of the mandatory second languages initiative meant the end of my proposed research project. Instead I went back to the original idea of studying marketing of language programs and conducted a case study looking at how English as a Second Language (ESL) programs at the University of Calgary were marketed. I looked at programs that were truly marketed… students had a choice between programs and schools. They could attend any program they chose, anywhere in the world. Marketing of ESL programs is a global business.

At that point, I became more convinced than ever that marketing, when it’s done right and held true to its purest form, is a good thing. Marketing involves choice, lots and lots of research and a long and arduous process of thinking things through. It’s that last bit about thinking things through that some organizations forget to do… Once you take the thinking out of the equation, you’re not marketing any more.

The alternative to inviting people to think, to question and to make decisions on their own is to make things mandatory and bombard them with propaganda convincing them to comply.

Education isn’t really been clear about which way it wants to go.


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Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

Breathtaking Impact of Volunteers’ Contribution to Non-formal and Informal Literacy Education in Alberta

March 28, 2011

At the National Metropolis 2011 conference this year in Vancouver, I was part of a panel of experts presenting on Family Literacy and the New Canadian. My paper focused on the research I’ve done on Formal, Non-Formal and Informal Learning: The Case of Literacy, Essential Skills and Language Learning in Canada. I’ll post the entire paper shortly, but for now, I wanted to highlight one bit from it that generated some significant discussion.

My point was that when informal and non-formal learning for literacy and language learning are tracked and recorded, we can better see the impact. The example I gave was that in 2009, Alberta Advanced Education and Training, produced Living Literacy: A Literacy Framework for Alberta’s Next Generation Economy. The 19-page report talks about why literacy matters and outlines priority actions for 2009-2013.

Buried on page 12 of the 19-page report is a gem of information that deserves to be highlighted and explored, which is what I did at my presentation in Vancouver. It states that in Alberta,

“In 2008, 2,000 adults were matched with a volunteer tutor who assisted them with basic reading, writing and/or math. On average, these learners received 39 hours of tutoring. “

So what does this mean?

It means that volunteers collectively spent 78,000 hours assisting adults with literacy in non-formal and informal learning contexts.

78,000 hours. In one year. In one province.

Let’s put this into perspective.

According to the Government of Alberta, the average student will receive 950 to 1000 hours of instruction per year. Let’s look at that number of 1000 hours for a minute.

A student in school gets 1000 hours per year of instruction.

That means, collectively in Alberta, volunteers contributed the equivalent of 78 years of school, in the form of non-formal and informal education, helping other adults to improve their literacy skills.

That’s over three-quarters of a century in the equivalent of school years.

Doesn’t that just take your breath away?

Often when people think of adult non-formal and informal education, they think of developing countries, where formal education is harder to access than in developed nations. But the impact of non-formal and informal education in nations like Canada is significant. The problem is that we don’t track it. At least, not very often. And not very systematically.

What would we discover if every Canadian province, every US state and every developed country tracked the contributions made to language learning and literacy in the way that the Alberta government did in 2008? We’d be blown away by the results.

There’s a big push in the non-profit and education world to capture learner stories. I completely agree with that. But it’s not the whole picture. There’s a saying in evaluation: No numbers without stories; no stories without numbers.

The equivalent of 78 years of schooling, contributed completely by volunteers in one year alone is staggering.

One call to action in my presentation in Vancouver is that we must make a concerted effort to track the number of hours contributed by our volunteers – particularly those working in rural and remote areas – in order to understand the impact of volunteer literacy tutoring programs.

Stay tuned for the whole paper. It’ll be posted on line in a few days.

Related posts:

Formal, non-formal and informal learning: The case of literacy and language learning in Canada

Formal, non-formal and informal education: What Are the Differences?

Formal, Non-formal and Informal Learning: A podcast

Formal, Non-formal and Informal Learning (Infographic)


Share this post: Breathtaking Impact of Volunteers’ Contribution to Non-formal and Informal Literacy Education in Alberta

Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

Panel Speaker at Metropolis 2011 – Vancouver, British Columbia

March 14, 2011

If you’re in Vancouver, BC, come and join us at the Metropolis 2011: Bringing the World to Canada, March 23-26 at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre.

This National Metropolis Conference focuses on “the role of immigration in connecting Canada with the rest of the world.” Organizers are expecting over 1000 participants from Canada and abroad. The main conference website says:

A recent report by Statistics Canada projects that, by 2031, at least one in four Canadians will have been born in another country. With this remarkable feature of our society as a backdrop, the conference will discuss the scale and nature of Canada’s immigration system and the policies and practices that have emerged to foster the socio-economic inclusion of new Canadians. Immigration and emigration are transforming the populations of most countries, and in this conference we will consider the place of Canada in this global process by asking speakers from elsewhere in the world to explain the migration and integration dynamics of their regions, thereby allowing us to understand better the effects of these trends on Canada.

I’m delighted to be speaking on a panel on Saturday, March 26. Here are the details:

E4 WORKSHOP | ATELIER (English | Anglais) Junior Ballroom D – Level 3 – North Tower | Niveau 3 – Tour Nord

Family Literacy and the New Canadian

This Workshop will bring together a panel of language experts from across Canada that will outline the importance and value of heritage / international languages and illustrate how schools, academics, community organizations and government policies can assist in maintaining and developing the multiple literacies of all Canadians.

Organizer | Organisateur
Bernard Bouska, Canadian Languages Association
Khatoune Temisjian, Québec Heritage Languages Association / Association québécoise des langues d’origine


Sarah Eaton, University of Calgary
Formal, Non-Formal and Informal Learning: The Case of Literacy, Essential Skills and Language Learning in Canada

Maria Makrakis, TESOL International and International Languages Educators’ Association (ILEA), Ontario
Language and Literacy for New Canadian Families

Constantine Ioannou, Government of Ontario
Ontario Schools and Communities Can Reflect the Languages of our Families

Khatoune Temisjian, Québec Heritage Languages Association / Association québécoise des langues d’origine
Literacy and Heritage/international Languages in Quebec: An Overview

Michael Embaie, Southern Alberta Heritage Languages Association (SAHLA)
Successful Implementation of Heritage / International Language Programs in Canada: Selected Strategies and Case-Studies

Chair | Modérateur
Marisa Romilly, Society For The Advancement of International Languages (SAIL British Columbia)

Discussant | Commentateur
Bernard Bouska, Canadian Languages Association

If you’re planning to attend the conference, please come and join us at the session!


Share this post: Panel Speaker at the Metropolis Conference 2011 – Vancouver, British Columbia

Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

27 Ways to Celebrate Family Literacy Day

January 12, 2011

January 27 is Family Literacy Day. Here are 27 ways to celebrate, categorized according to Canada’s 9 Literacy and Essential Skills.

by Dr. Sarah Elaine Eaton

Reading text

1. Read to your child or children. A book. A graphic novel. Anything that sparks interest. The important thing is to enjoy the activity of reading together. Make it fun and give them the gift of reading that will last a lifetime.

2. Have your child or children read to you. They pick the material or you pick it. Doesn’t matter. Just get them reading. Listen intently. Nod your head to show you are paying attention. Ask a few questions after the reading has finished to show interest and curiosity.

3. Read a newspaper article as a family. Critique and evaluate the article together, talking about its meaning, content, and bias. Each member of the family reads the entire article or take turns reading sections of it aloud around the dinner table.

Document use

4. Read and understand nutritional labels. As a family become conscious of what you are eating today by checking out the nutritional labels on the food products you eat. Understanding information from tables is one aspect of document use.

5. Use transportation schedules to plan an outing. Whether it’s a trip to your local zoo or a visit to Disney World, gather together bus or plane schedules, find out how much things cost and the hours of operation of places you want to visit. Gathering information from schedules is another aspect of document use.

6. Read an instruction manual to achieve a goal. Is there something sitting around your house that has yet to be opened or built? Today’s the day! Instead of seeing instruction manuals as a “last resort”, teach your family that they can be helpful. Challenge them to read through a set of instructions to build or assemble something for your home. Understanding and using the instructive information and blueprints is also an important aspect of document use.


7. Plan an home renovation project. Have you been thinking about improving your kitchen? Updating one of the children’s bedrooms? Get out a tape measure and start taking some measurements!

8. Calculate what you’ll need for your project. How much paint do you need to cover the surface area of the walls you want to paint? How much laminate do you need to buy for a new living room floor?

9. Set a budget for your project. Now that you’ve figured out how much of each material you need, you can calculate a budget for your project as a family. Calculate what the project will cost you and how much you can allot to each type of material.

You don’t have to go out and buy all these things, but learning how to take measurements and calculate what you’ll need are important numeracy skills.


10. Write a letter to a loved one far away. Letter writing is a dying art. Teach your family the value of knowing how to put pen to paper to maintain family connections. Have each member of the family write one paragraph to someone special who lives far away. After the letter is written, prepare the envelope together by having one person write the recipient’s address and another person write the return address on the envelope.

11. Write an e-mail as a family. Like writing on paper, knowing how to put words on a screen using a word processing or e-mail program is an important part of document use. Write an e-mail to a family member with an upcoming birthday. Avoid “text talk” such as writing “u” instead of “you”. For this family e-mail, use proper words and full sentences. You can always save the e-mail to the drafts folder if the birthday is a few days away.

12. Fill out applications together. Does everyone in the family have a passport? If not, fill out passport applications together. Help an aspiring college student with an application to a post-secondary institution. Learning to fill out forms correctly is an important skill that you can build together as a family.

Oral communication

For activities that focus on oral communication, make it a “no technology” time, so family members learn to listen to one another, rather than checking their texts or playing video games during times when the focus is on speaking and listening. Tech time comes later. For these activities, put the phones, iPods and other mobile devices aside and concentrate on one another.

13. Share updates. Around the dinner table, have each person give an update on their day, as well as upcoming events such as games, school events or important work meetings. Challenge everyone to avoid slang and speak in full sentences. Other family members practice active listening, nodding and responding with questions that express interest and curiosity.

14. Have a family debate. Pick a topic that every family member can contribute to. It may be a political issue or where you want to go for your next family vacation. Have each family member make a case for their point of view and try to persuade the others. The point isn’t to win or have a heated argument, but rather to construct excellent verbal arguments and listen to one another without interrupting.

15. Solve a problem. As a family, talk about a problem you want to solve. It can be anything from how to organize the front hall closet better to deciding what movie to see on Friday night. A “problem” does not necessarily have to be emotionally charged. Once you learn how to solve simple problems, larger ones become easier, too. The general formula is Problem -> Action -> Result. What is the problem you want to solve? Why does it need to be solved? What actions will you take to solve it? Describe the actions step-by-step. Finally, talk about the results you expect. What will happen because of the actions you take? Human Resources and Skills Development offers a free tip sheet on using oral communication to solve problems.

Working with others

16. Play a game. Choose a game that you can play independently, in pairs or in teams. Board games such as Risk or Settlers of Catan are good choices. Play one round with individual players and one round in pairs or teams. Become aware of the differences of working alone versus working with others.

17. Plan a family meeting. What will you talk about? Who will lead the discussion? It is OK for leadership to rotate or for different people to take the lead on different aspects of the meeting. What do you want out of the meeting? How much time will you spend on each item? Learning to plan and actively participate in meetings is an important aspect of working with others.

18. Talk about the personality types in your family. Are you a “Type A” personality? A “Type B”? A “Type C”? or a “Type D”? Most people have an idea what a “Type A” is, but the others are not always so clear. Print off this tip sheet from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and share it with your family. Which personality types do members of your family relate to? What are the benefits of each? How can you learn to appreciate one another’s preferences without judgment or wanting them to be more like you?

Continuous learning

19. Attend a workshop or a course as a family. Spend a day learning how to snowboard or take a cooking class together. Have family members put suggestions into a hat for a topic or subject they’d like to suggest to the family. Select randomly. Figure out where you can find a course on that topic and register the whole family.

20. Go to a local interpretive centre or museum. Some communities have interpretive centres in parks which are free of charge. Learn about your community, local wildlife or other topics.

21. Have family members teach each other a skill. Make it simple and easy to learn in an afternoon. Topics such as “How to post a picture to Facebook”, “How to balance a cheque book” or “How iron a dress shirt” are good examples. Take turns having each family member teach a simple skill to everyone else. Others must practice the new skill and demonstrate that they have made an honest attempt to learn. Use this as an opportunity to practice Working with Others, by offering and receiving constructive and helpful feedback.

Thinking skills

Thinking skills are often used in conjunction with other essential skills. These skills involve identifying and diagnosing problems, researching, and using information to make decisions.

22. Plan a family outing. In addition to using schedules to plan transportation, research where you will go and what you will do when you get there. Use your numeracy skills to plan a budget for the outing.

23. Research materials for your home reno project. For example: What are the benefits of each type of paint (egg shell, semi-gloss, gloss, etc.)? Which is best for your home reno project? Why? Determine what the various types of paint are and either individually or in pairs, have family members choose one type of paint and research the benefits. Visit a local hardware store as a family and talk to a paint expert. Use the information you’ve researched to make an informed decision.

24. Do some consumer research. Are you planning to buy something as a family? A new toy? An appliance? Teach your family the basics of consumer research, by showing them how to research products and services, compare similar products, understand consumer reviews and learn about bias in research. Which store offers the best price for the product you are looking at? Can you order it on line for less money? If you can order it on line, use your numeracy skills to factor in shipping and handling to determine the final price. Check out the Canadian Consumer Handbook and use it to inform your research.

Computer use

25. Learn keyboard shortcuts. Whether you use a PC or a Mac there are tons of shortcuts to help make your computer use more efficient. Check out this Tip Sheet for a few ideas. Have family members share their favorite computer shortcuts. Post them on the fridge. Quiz each other over dinner.

26. Have a Family Play Date with technology. Learn how to use a video game controller by playing video games. Start a family game of Scrabble on line. Incorporating play into technology and computer use can reduce anxiety and make it much more enjoyable. Focus on the fun and learning. Allow those with high technology literacy to lead the way in teaching and facilitating. When you get frustrated, just laugh and try again. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about sharing time together as a family.

27. Improve your “mobile literacy”. Do the teenagers in your world know how to do all kinds of things with their cell phones and other mobile devices, but you’ve been left behind in the 20th century dust? All cell phones today have texting capability. Have a young person teach you how to text or show you how to do it more efficiently. If you already know how to text, learn how to send a text long distance, send a photo or a web page link, or Tweet using your phone. Digital literacy doesn’t stop at your desktop. Asking a young person or a “techie”  in your family for help with technology is a great way to involve them in literacy.

Click here for more information on Literacy and Essential Skills.

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Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

11 Ways to Promote Your Literacy Program

January 5, 2011

I’m sharing 11 of my top tips to market and promote literacy! These tips are for literacy organizations, programs and other non-profits who focus on literacy.

1. Tweet! – Don’t have a Twitter account yet? Get one – and learn how to use it. Follow other literacy programs. Ask your members to follow you. Don’t just ask for donations in tweets. (In fact, I’d say never ask for donations via Twitter, but that’s just me.) Interact, retweet, have fun.

2. Get a Facebook page – Ask your members to like your page. Post notes, learner success stories, policy news and other tidbits of interest for those who are fans of what you’re doing.

3. Get business cards for your staff – Cards have been used for both personal and business use for over a century now. I am amazed how many literacy programs don’t have cards for their staff. Really, you can’t afford not to have business cards for the people who work for you.

4. Update your website – Are you still using a website that you can’t update yourself? You want a crisp, clean looking site that uses a content management system that allows you to update your site yourself. Remember to use your logo and “brand” your website.

5. Get a YouTube Channel – Post slideshows, “how to” videos, learner success stories and testimonials. Video is part of 21st century marketing. YouTube has an excellent program for nonprofits that’s worth checking out.

6. Collect stories and testimonials – Get learners to share their success stories using audio or video. Use their stories on your website and YouTube channel. Collect one learner testimonial per month and by the end of the year you will have a dozen success stories that will help you promote the good work you do.

7. Set marketing goals – If you can collect one testimonial per month, by the end of the year, you have twelve. What else can you do every month to promote literacy? Set specific, measurable and realistic goals, share them, post them and refer back to them throughout the year.

8. Accept donations and membership fees on line – If you’re not already accepting donations using PayPal or some other online method, now is the time to set it up. Have links from your website. People should be able to join your organization or make a donation with the click of the button. Build it and they will come.

9. Connect with local authors to promote literacy. Collaborate with local authors / bookstores for reading events. At least every other month have the event in your space to get people through your door. Authors can do book signings and read from their books. Sell books and share the revenue.

10. Plan a celebration of learning and literacy – Showcase the success of your learners. Invite funders, members and supporters of your organization and local politicians who champion literacy. Send out press releases and get it catered.

11. Take an asset-based approach to marketing – Focus on the good work you’re doing, the positive impact your work is making and the resources you have. Find creative ways to highlight your successes.


Related post: 27 Ways to Celebrate Family Literacy Day

Share or Tweet this post:  11 ways to promote your literacy program

Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


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