Literacy starts at birth or, as research suggests, in utero. Research shows a strong relationship between early positive literacy experiences and improved brain development. The Montreal Children's Hospital is working in partnership with The Centre for Literacy via health care providers to promote literacy and engage families in reading.
Lire/Imagine/Read is a program that integrates literacy promotion into health care practice, and provides books to families of children who visit or stay at The Montreal Children's Hospital.
As part of the project:
- All children aged 0-5 who visit selected clinics receive a book in their mother tongue. Parents are given a bookmark and information that explains the importance of reading for child development, encourages visits to local library and/or bookstores, and to continue a habit of reading;
- Health care professionals screen families for literacy orientation;
- Some outpatient waiting rooms have a "reading corner", where volunteers read to children to model reading for parents, and to help decrease the stress of waiting.
- All wards have volunteers trained to read to individual children.
- A new program with teenage mothers and their infants started in 2010.
Other literacy programs at the hospital include:
- Biblio-Express offers books and encouragement to read to hospitalized children.
- Books for Babies gives books to parents in the NICU.
- An annual celebration of Family Literacy Day at The Montreal Children's Hospital helps raise family and staff awareness about the importance of literacy.
This project has received support from the Golfapalooza Classic, the Alva Foundation, The Montreal Children's Auxiliary and The Centre for Literacy.
Links to early literacy information for parents
- Canadian Pediatric Society website information for parents
- American literacy promotion program
- Canadian family literacy organization with information of families and professionals
- Link to adult literacy services in Quebec
- Literacy information
- MCH Speech Language Pathology Department
MCH Research on Reading in NICU
Lariviere, J; Rennick, J. Parent Picture-Book Reading to Infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit as an Intervention Supporting Parent-Infant Interaction and Later Book Reading, Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: February/March 2011 - Volume 32 - Issue 2 - pp 146-152.
Health Literacy Information
- Centre for Literacy of Quebec
- The Calgary Charter on Health and Literacy
- Canadian Council on Learning: Health Literacy in Canada: A Healthy Understanding
- Culture and Literacy: Health literacy and immigrant populations
- Patient Engagement and Health Literacy: An Indigenous Cultural Context
Help your child learn to read
- Help your child learn language: for children 0-2 years old
- Help your child learn language: for children 2-6 years old
- Help your child love to read: for children 6-9 years old
- Help your child love to read: pre-teens and teens
- The Importance of Home Language Series (this resource is available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Brazilian, Chinese, Haitian Creole and Russian).
Grand Rounds lecture given by Rachel Barr on Family Literacy Day, 2016