2023 Saskatchewan Literacy Awards of Merit


Thank you to everyone who joined our celebration of the Saskatchewan Literacy Awards of Merit! Congratulations to all nominees and recipients!

This is a photo of the medallion for the Saskatchewan Literacy Awards of Merit. The medallion has an image of a person and a book, with the words "Saskatchewan Literacy Award of Merit" around it in a circle. The bronze medallion is hung by a brass ring through an olive-coloured ribbon. There is a "Literacy" pin placed above it, all on a dark green framing matte.

Through the Saskatchewan Literacy Awards of Merit, the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan honours people, businesses, and organizations for their dedication and commitment to literacy and learning in our province. The awards recognize…

… adult literacy learners with exceptional commitment and progress in their learning journey;

… dedicated individuals and organizations who improve and enhance literacy and foundational skills in their communities;

… significant accomplishments in literacy services or professional activities, with outstanding initiative, collaboration, and leadership.

This year, the Awards Ceremony was held Wednesday, May 25, 2023 at Government House in Regina, Saskatchewan.

2023 Award Recipients

Professional Leadership in Literacy Award - Amanda Lanoway, Regina

Amanda Lanoway has worked in the non-profit sector for 20 years. A “social problems” course in university motivated her to find ways of using her skills, abilities, and connections to solve social problems and help those in need.

Amanda’s long-time former employment with United Way Regina solidified her commitment to literacy by leading the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR) in Regina which focuses on the keystone community outcome in breaking the cycle of poverty: grade-level reading by the end of third grade.

She demonstrates her commitment to helping others through her paid employment as the Volunteer Coordinator at Regina Public Library – connecting newcomer learners to volunteer English language tutors – as well as through her own volunteer commitments with the Rotary Club of Regina, JustServe Regina, Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and as Co-Founder of Soup After Dark (SAD), an lnfiNATE Initiative, that fed over 10,000 people during the five coldest months of the year in downtown Regina, with 148 consecutive days of service, from December 4, 2022 to April 30, 2023.

Amanda prides herself on passing along the values of humility, generosity, and dignity for all to her two children.

Professional Leadership in Literacy Award - Harriet Roy, La Ronge

Harriet Roy recently retired as the Assistant Director of the Pahkisimon Nuyeʔáh Library System, headquartered in Air Ronge, Saskatchewan. Harriet is a mother of 3 and a grandmother to 9. She worked full time in Air Ronge, with many trips across the north and to various communities in the world.

Hired as a Teacher/Librarian in 1996, with a primary goal of working with the schools and communities in the PNLS region, Harriet has shared her passion for reading and lifelong learning through communities across the north. Through her work as a teacher, teacher-librarian and Assistant Director with PNLS, Harriet has also been dedicated to championing literacy and equitable library services in northern Saskatchewan.

In her work, Harriet planned, coordinated, and implemented the annual Northern Reading Program, author tours to northern communities, and donations of books to residents of the north. In addition to her work she has been an active and leading member of organizations including Chairperson for the Library Services for Saskatchewan Aboriginal Peoples Committee, and the Saskatchewan Reading Council. In her role as Chairperson, Harriet presented at the International Indigenous Librarian’s Forum, and helped to grow the annual Saskatchewan Aboriginal Storytelling Month Project to it’s province-wide success, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

Harriet always tried to provide books as gifts and prizes, especially as, she adds, “I have also always been an avid reader and love stories with a bit of suspense and romance.”

Volunteer Service Award - Donna Pankiw, Regina

Since settling in Regina, Donna has set up and managed the Regina Immigrant Women’s English language program and taught ESL at the U of R.

As a retired educator, Donna has used her skills to help many newcomers improve their literacy, both through one-to-one tutoring and small group sessions. When Regina welcomed hundreds of Ukrainian refugees, Donna offered her fluency in English and Ukrainian to help with orientation sessions, and by offering a beginner English course. Learning a new language in adulthood is hard work.

Donna uses her lifelong fascination with language to help make that task stimulating and entertaining. As a former refugee herself, Donna’s work with newcomers also focuses on boosting their self-confidence and optimism. Her enthusiasm for teaching makes her classes both lively and interesting. Donna is always on time and always stays late to help students with their questions after class.

As well, Donna has done a lot of volunteering in the local Ukrainian community. After retiring, she cut her volunteer work down to teaching newcomers English because she really, really loves teaching. Decades ago, Canada’s goodwill helped her refugee family. Through this volunteer teaching, Donna is paying it forward. Her past work around the globe and interest in textiles has led to a new absorbing hobby, which is motanka doll making.

Donna is also a voracious reader. Because of downsizing, she’s given away her vast book collection (books take up a lot of space). She now uses the public library to satisfy her reading addiction. That, she says, is why she’s at the library so often. She’s an enthusiastic bike rider and pastry baker. She also says she has a sweet tooth, so the bike riding helps balance the two!

Youth Volunteer Service Award - Kylie Phillipchuk, Estevan

Kylie Phillipchuk is a grade twelve student attending Estevan Comprehensive School in Estevan, Saskatchewan. Throughout her life, Kylie has been very involved with the study of language. She participated in the French immersion program at her school from preschool up to grade ten. By having a second language, Kylie had the opportunity to communicate in a different way and expand her knowledge of language barriers.

This year, Kylie took a creative writing class which she says was very fun and she learned about different techniques in writing. Word choice, how to make writing flow, and techniques which strengthen writing have allowed her to understand and appreciate language more.

When she graduates, Kylie will join the College of Education at the University of Saskatchewan where she will study Elementary Education. By going into education, Kylie hopes to change the lives of many kids and benefit the world in a positive way. Kylie hopes to open their eyes to creativity through literature also.

Staff at Kylie’s school and work share how much she contributes to her school, her workplace, and everywhere she volunteers, such as, among others, with the MS Society and the Missoula Children’s Theatre. Kylie goes above and beyond, for example, stepping in for a cooking program promoting everyday literacy skills, or even staying after her shifts at the library to help children find books to further their own love of reading.

This work at the Estevan Public Library fits well, too, with Kylie’s future plans to be an elementary educator. Through her work at the public library, Kylie saw the importance of reading and she is excited to continue teaching kids and sharing this with her future students.

Outstanding Literacy Program Award - The Mo Family Literacy Program, Swift Current

Mo the Elasmosaurus was discovered in 1992, 6 km northeast of Ponteix, by Bob St. Cry, a high school student. This amazing marine reptile was stationed along highway 13 to commemorate the discovery and the fact that this dinosaur swam through what is now known as the prairies of Saskatchewan 70 million years ago.

Using Mo as the mascot brands this program as uniquely southwest. Originally created by Kathryn Foley, the program promotes early literacy and numeracy skills to families. With green screen technology and 6 pounds of plasticine, Mo was brought to life with fun pictures featured in the weekly Mo newsletters, and the certificates given to families at the end of the 5-week family literacy program.

The Mo Family Literacy Program is a hybrid program to provide an understanding of family literacy and its values, showing families how to model literacy skills to their children to aid in their development. Participants attend either in person or online in small groups of parent-child units to allow for personalized time with program facilitators. The Programmer demonstrates a literacy or numeracy skill engaging the children while explaining the method and reason to the parents. The program uses items like alphabet or number toys, or magnetic letters or literacy bins as part of the activities. Each week, every family is given books to help build their own home libraries.

Piloted in 2021, more rural branches are requesting this program, too, as the positive impact has been seen across the Chinook Regional Library area. As one family shared, “My kid is a shy boy, but in this program, I saw him participate in the activities and open his horizon. Before, he doesn’t want to go to school, but now he’s looking forward to it. Keep it up!”

Cameco Literacy Learner Award and Bursary - Cheng Fan, Regina

Cheng Fan joined the Regina Public Library Literacy program in 2020. At that time, as he said, he couldn’t speak English well. With help from our Literacy Program and tutors, he has persisted in his English learning and practice, especially English speaking. He borrows numerous books and joins various English learning activities whenever he has any spare time.

In addition to learning and improving his English, he is passionate about serving our communities with enthusiasm. His goal is to give back to the community, and share passion and love. In 2021, he volunteered one day each week to help Habitat for Humanity build 11 units in 3 buildings in the Haultain Crossing project, the second largest Habitat charity project in Canada. Since 2022, he has been volunteering 2 hours a week to help vulnerable people with physical disabilities in Friendship Club, a charity program that is devoted to supporting vulnerable groups. Today, he is coaching children in multiple sports and encouraging them to challenge new skills. In these workplaces, Cheng Fan has improved his language skills daily, and he also forged a strong bond with various local communities.

With the help of the Regina Public Library Literacy Program, Cheng Fan has demonstrated competent language skills by communicating with coworkers, children, and parents. So far, he still keeps learning and participating in library literacy activities. He is someone who loves learning and is a learner who loves the library!

Awards Categories

Business Leadership in Literacy Award

Business Leadership in Literacy Award

This award commends a business or corporation in Saskatchewan for their significant support for literacy programs and participants.

Award selection is based on noteworthy involvement in literacy events, ongoing community partnerships, and philanthropy that encourages learners to enhance their literacy abilities.

Cameco Literacy Learner Award and Bursary

Cameco Literacy Learner Award and Bursary

This award and $1000 bursary is for an individual with exceptional commitment to their personal literacy development. Award selection is based on demonstrated literacy and foundational skills growth that makes a significant impact on their life. Also, the award recognizes the learner’s leadership and commitment to community service.

Outstanding Literacy Project Award

Outstanding Literacy Project Award

This award honours a literacy project or program that makes a positive impact on learners and their community. Award selection is based on demonstrated innovation, creativity, and vision in project design and delivery. Development process, community partnerships, participant engagement, outcomes, and overall project successes are also evaluated.

Professional Leadership in Literacy Award

Professional Leadership in Literacy Award

This award recognizes the dedication of a leader, employee, or other professional who supports literacy advancement in their organization and community. Award selection is based on initiating learning activities, ensuring inclusive training environments, and other documented programs and achievements promoted through their leadership.

Volunteer Service Award

Volunteer Service Award

This award honours an individual who is committed to serving others and their community. Award selection is based on exceptional dedication to supporting literacy activities that were enhanced, or made possible, through the inspiration and help of this volunteer. Activities could include providing training, mentorship, program coordination, and tutoring services, among others.

Workplace Training Excellence Award

Workplace Training Excellence Award

This award celebrates an organization that is dedicated to enhancing the foundational literacy skills of its employees. Award selection is based on training programs and activities the organization provides to promote leadership and foundational skills growth. Through these activities, employees have positive career opportunities and enhanced skills.

Youth Volunteer Service Award

Youth Volunteer Service Award

This award is dedicated to young people under the age of 24 who have volunteered their time to support literacy in their community. Youth volunteers are recognized for being a role model for other young people, and who influence other young people to volunteer.


We created this award inspired by the dedication of Rebecca Duncan from Estevan who volunteered since the age of 11 as a program volunteer to inspire and assist other children in literacy programs, after participating in them herself.

This is a photo of Rebecca Duncan from Estevan, with her honourable mention from the Saskatchewan Literacy Awards of Merit. Rebecca is standing beside her nominator.The following year, the Youth Volunteer Services Award category was created in her honour.