January 27 marks both Family Literacy Day and the Read to Me program’s 19th birthday. The program wants to take the opportunity to encourage families to request their free bag of books if they gave birth during the program's temporary suspension due to COVID-19.
The Read to Me Program gives a free bag of books and reading resources to every baby born in Nova Scotia, at the nine hospitals that offer maternity services. Since 2002, Read to Me has distributed over 148,000 bags containing 350,000 free baby books to newborns.
In 2020, Read to Me temporarily suspended hospital bedside bag delivery between mid-March and September, due to COVID-19. Parents were invited to order a bag through the program’s website. Parents that gave birth during this time but did not request their bag yet are encouraged to order one on Read to Me’s website, www.readtome.ca. Parents can order a bag in Arabic, Chinese, English, French or Mi’kmaq.
“We were pleased to receive well over 1000 requests for bags since last March”, says Read to Me’s manager, Nancy Edgar, “but we know there are many more families who gave birth during the shutdown that didn’t get their book bags yet. The books in the bag are selected to appeal to babies up to the age of two, so even if your baby is 6 or 7 months old, they’ll really enjoy reading the books in the bag.”
Every bag contains two high quality baby books, a month-by-month guide to reading together, a booklet listing 50 more age-appropriate books, and an invitation to join the library. The books in the bag feature bright, bold images and a fun text that encourages playful interaction between parent and baby.
“There is no deadline on ordering your bag – if you gave birth in 2020 in Nova Scotia and didn’t receive your baby’s Read to Me bag, please contact us,” says Edgar. “Reading with babies is so important, and we want to make sure that all families receive the best start with books.”
Celebrate Family Literacy Day!
Family Literacy Day helps to raise awareness of the importance of reading and enjoying literacy-related activities as a family. Family literacy is more than reading together, it includes all the ways families use literacy, from playing board games, singing, writing letters, making a grocery list or surfing the Internet. It’s all about spending time together and having fun engaged in literacy-related activities. This year’s theme is "Travel the World Together". Families are encouraged to use their imagination and travel the world together as a family – you never know what you’ll learn!
IWK Communications & Public Affairs
About IWK Health: IWK Health is the Maritime region's leading health care and research centre dedicated to the well-being of women, children, youth and families. In addition to providing highly specialized and complex care, the IWK provides certain primary care services and is a strong advocate for the health of families. The IWK is a global leader in research and knowledge sharing, and a partner in educating the next generation of health professionals. Visit www.iwk.nshealth.ca for more information.Share