How decals are helping bridge a literacy gap in Vernon

These decals can be found on playground equipment at Polson Park in Vernon.
Image Credit: Wendy Aasen

VERNON - A literacy project in Vernon is proving words aren’t just for the pages of storybooks.

Decals that read "Ready, set… slide" have been affixed to playground equipment in Polson Park, and while the phrases may seem simple to most adults, they are helping build a literacy foundation for children.

The project is being run by the Junction Literacy Centre and executive director Wendy Aasen says they are hoping to integrate words into other public spaces in Vernon. Aasen presented the project to Vernon council this week and asked for support from the city moving ahead.

“We’re seeing a gap in the early years when it comes to oral language,” Aasen said. “This is a way to increase literature in print to young people in our community.”

She said many parents do not speak with their children enough, leaving the kids disadvantaged when they enter the school system. Words on playground equipment, public washrooms or at bus stops can act as prompts that encourage conversation, Aasen said.

“Most of our play spaces are devoid of language and literature,” Aasen said. “There are many, many ways of simply taking a space and making it something engaging and literacy rich.”

Aasen said the initiative is cutting edge, with Vernon being the first community to roll it out. The group hopes to continue developing sites across the city.

The Junction Literacy Centre is hoping to roll out more demonstration sites this year.
The Junction Literacy Centre is hoping to roll out more demonstration sites this year.
Image Credit: Wendy Aasen

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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