Free books, programs encourage early childhood literacy

Minister Robert Henderson was joined by (L-R) public health nurse Jennifer Doyle, IODE PEI representative Gail MacLean in a recent visit to the Charlottetown Public Health Nursing office to discuss two new early childhood literacy programs now available

Supporting Island Families -

New parents can encourage an early love of reading through two new literacy programs.

Public health and the provincial libraries are partnering to promote “Born to Read” and “Little Ones Read,” which emphasize the importance of reading to infants and early childhood literacy. Parents can get information on both programs as part of their regular wellness visits to Public Health Nursing.

“It’s never too early or too late to start talking, singing, reading and playing with your baby,” says Arlene Rose, acting director of Public Health and Children’s Developmental Services for Health PEI. “Regularly cuddling and reading together strengthens the bond between you and your baby, as well as helping your baby develop important skills for learning to communicate, and eventually to read.”

The Born to Read program is available to parents of newborns two-months of age. As part of the wellness visit to Public Health Nursing, families will receive a copy of Baby Look, an accordion-style tummy-time book published in Atlantic Canada, and Baby’s First Library Card, a brochure encouraging families to take advantage of the resources and programs for babies offered by the PEI Public Library Service.

As part of the Little Ones Read program, families will receive a copy of Look At Me Now! when they visit Public Health Nursing for their toddler’s 18-month wellness check up. The book’s storyline celebrates the many developmental milestones of toddlerhood, following an 18-month-old through his day as he proudly practices new skills like getting dressed and walking up stairs. The bouncy text reinforces a toddler’s confidence in his new accomplishments and the charming illustrations are filled with eye-catching details that will invite lively conversation between parent and child.

Books being provided to families as part of the Little Ones Read program have been made available to Public Health Nursing through the generosity of the IODE Prince Edward Island and the Rotary Club of Charlottetown.

“As a parent, I understand the importance of healthy child development, especially in the early stages of life,” Education, Early Learning and Culture Minister Doug Currie said. “We are pleased to invest in programs for children that promote early learning and we hope that these supports help make the early stages of parenting a little easier.”

For families who would prefer a French alternative, the book Bisous Bisous Bébé-Ô! is available. The book Weska'qelmut Apje'juanu is available for families who would prefer a Mi’kmaq option.

“These new programs will help to support Island parents, as they foster early learning and developmental skills with their children,” said Health and Wellness Minister Robert Henderson. “By reading to their babies and becoming regular library users themselves, parents help their babies develop language skills and cognitive abilities, and start them on the path to lifelong success in reading and learning.”

For more information, visit Public Health Nursing (healthpei.ca/publichealth).

Media contact:
Amanda Hamel
Senior Communications Officer
Health PEI
(902) 368-6135

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