Literacy numbers adding up nicely



To qualify to be a client with STAR Literacy, people must

• be 18 years of age or older

• be a resident of St. Albert

• work in St. Albert

• be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, refugee or Temporary Foreign Worker

For more information or to register for programs or volunteer opportunities, please call STAR Literacy at 780-459-5864 or visit

It’s one of those rare occasions when supply perfectly matches demand. STAR Literacy reports that it has matched all of its current clients with a volunteer tutor from the community.

“We’re steady and everybody is matched so now we’re looking for more tutors and more learners,” said the organization’s newly installed program manager Joanna Sokolic in pointing out that it’s usually a fickle balance between the two groups.

“I’m finding it’s up and down as far as learners and tutors. Just last month, I had more tutors waiting in the wings and I couldn’t match them with learners. It’s interesting how quickly it can change.”

Their current tutor roster stands at 33 although some of them have more than one student. The more, the merrier, Sokolic says. Literacy is often the hardest thing to ask for when one doesn’t have it.

“A lot of those clients don’t reach out. I think there’s still some stigma attached to it. It’s just putting the word out there that we are here to help. One in four Albertans do struggle with some form of literacy so there’s no shame in accessing tutoring.”

The local literacy business is on an upward trend lately with a recent influx of Iraqi refugee families signed on as clients and a recent boost from the St. Albert Community Foundation. In December, that philanthropic organization offered STAR Literacy its annual grant, part of which will be used to continue the STAR Talk Conversation Circle. This popular free drop-in literacy group has been running since 2014 and has helped innumerable people of many cultures and nationalities to become conversant in English. It is held at the St. Albert Public Library every Friday from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

STAR is primarily funded by the Alberta government but the organization does look to other sources of grant funding such as the St. Albert Community Foundation as much as possible.

“It’s always nice to be able to buy new resources and have new resources at our fingertips to offer to our tutors. It’s also always nice to recognize our tutors and the time that they put into tutoring our learners and also putting in the preparation for their tutoring sessions.”


About Author

Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.