Children’s early experiences with books and reading help prepare them for school and set them up for success later in life. Exposing babies to books and reading increases vocabulary and makes it easier for them to learn to read later on. Just as important, sharing books provides babies and children with warm and nurturing interactions with the adults they care about. Early exposure to language—whether through books, words, or songs—can help prevent problems and promote health.
Practice tools and guidelines
- Read, Speak, Sing is a Canadian Paediatric Society program that helps paediatricians and other child health professionals encourage parents to read to babies from birth. Among the tools and resources for in the practice setting are a poster, tear-off pads, and more.
- Read, Speak, Sing: Promoting literacy in the physician's office is a position statement that offers suggestions for incorporating literacy education in clinical settings.
- Literacy Resources for Physicians: A list of national, provincial and territorial resources for physicians interested in promoting literacy in their practices and communities.
- Webinar: Promoting Early Literacy in Health Settings: Connecting for a National Strategy (July 2016)
Information for sharing with parents and caregivers
- Reading to Your Baby: How parents can promote literacy from birth is a bilingual brochure with information for parents on the benefits of reading and other communication. It’s also available on the Caring for Kids website.
- Age-appropriate books lists (for children 1 through 6 years) and a list of multicultural books for children have been compiled by the Ottawa Public Library.
- Video - Read, Speak, Sing: Your baby and early literacy
- Video - Read, Speak, Sing: Fun ideas for you and your baby
- Blog: Why It's Never Too Early To Start Reading With Your Kids (Dr. Alyson Shaw, Huffington Post Canada Blog, January 27, 2016)
Sources and resources
- Read, Speak, Sing - Early Literacy listserv: With the guidance of literacy champion Dr. Alyson Shaw, the CPS has launched a listserv (email discussion group) to encourage conversation and idea-sharing about how to support and promote early childhood literacy in health settings. To join, send a blank email to the link above.
- ABC Life Literacy Canada
- Early Childhood Literacy Programs in Canada: A National Survey
- The Early Childhood Education Report
- Lire/Imagine/Read: Literacy promotion project at the Montreal Children’s Hospital
- Reach Out and Read: A U.S. program that promotes early literacy by giving new books to children and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud.