Promoting Early Literacy in Health Settings: Connecting for a National Strategy

Last modified by Ann Watkins on 2016/07/27 20:25

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Learning to read starts at birth, and this webinar will explore why and how we can support early literacy in health settings. Three speakers from across Canada will describe innovative ways that health professionals and health care centres can promote literacy: 

  • Dr. Alyson Shaw will review the evidence behind early literacy promotion and outline the Canadian Paediatric Society’s position statement, along with practice tools and guidelines. She will also describe literacy and health initiatives in Ottawa. 
  • Carol McDougall will outline a provincial model which provides a free bag of books and literacy materials to every baby born in Nova Scotia.  
  • Jan Lariviere will talk about the many ways that literacy promotion is integrated into health care practice for families at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

We invite you to join us in a discussion of how we can connect to support early literacy promotion in Canada.   


Presentation Slides

Dr. Alyson Shaw Presentation Slides

Carol McDougall Presentation Slides

Jan Lariviere Presentation Slides

Other Links and Resources


Dr. Alyson Shaw is an assistant professor of paediatrics at the University of Ottawa and a consultant pediatrician in the Division of Paediatric Medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), where she is director of the Pediatric Medicine Ambulatory Clinic.  A native of Halifax, she did undergraduate degrees at McGill and Dalhousie universities.  She graduated from Dalhousie Medical School in 1998 and completed her pediatric residency and fellowship at the University of Ottawa.  As Chair of the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) Literacy Promotion Advisory Committee and a member of the CPS Public Education Advisory Committee, she speaks and writes about common parenting and early childhood issues.  She has a passion for children’s literature and is the current Chair of the Ottawa Children’s Literature Roundtable. 


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Carol McDougall is the Director of Read to Me, Nova Scotia’s hospital-based early reading promotion program.  Carol has worked in the field of children’s literature and literacy for over 40 years; as author, editor, children’s librarian at the Toronto Public Library, Librarian for the Canadian Children’s Book Centre, and founding Director of Read to Me.   She has been juror for the Governor General’s Literary Award and the TD Children’s book award and was former chair of Word on the Street Halifax.  For her work in literacy, Carol was awarded the Mayor’s Award for Cultural Achievement and the Women of Excellence Award.



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Jan Lariviere is a retired pediatric nurse and is currently the coordinator of the Lire/Imagine/Read Literacy Promotion Project at the Montreal Children's Hospital. She has published research on the benefits of parents reading to their infants in the NICU and is a member of the CPS Literacy Promotion Advisory Committee. Jan received the 2005 McGill University Health Centre Eureka Nursing Research Fellowship and the 2006 Montreal Children's Hospital Foundation Award of Excellence for Nursing Education.