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Roots to Read is a program which will promote and support emergent literacy, crucial to health and development, for every newborn at NRGH.

ROOTS TO READ was established in June 2022 at NRGH to ensure that all infants have equal opportunity for a healthy literacy start. Free to all families, it was launched to address the rising rates of low literacy in Nanaimo, particularly in children starting kindergarten.

•   We know that a healthy literacy start leads to optimal brain development in those crucial first couple of years, when brain growth is at its maximum!
•   It can be confusing for parents to sort out what is best for healthy infant development, especially if their own literacy confidence is low.
•   We know that the best way to promote literacy in babies is not with screens, but with direct social reading, singing, and storytelling, in any language, with a loving adult! This interaction is called “serve and return”. It is something that computers can’t provide.
•   Screen time can actually slow infant language development. We have seen a measurable impact on our young children born during the COVID-19 pandemic, when screen times went up in most homes. Screen time is not recommended for learning under age 2 years. Read more about what Canadian pediatricians recommend here:


• Carefully selected new board books that encourage READ, SPEAK AND SING loving interactions between caregiver and their newborn, to promote the development of early literacy
• Early Words educational cards for simple quick caregiver reference (from the Canadian Children’s Literacy Foundation, printed and used with permission)
• Information about local library access and other community resources
• A reusable Roots to Read book bag that can be used for library visits!
• Education from our health care team about how important families are in their infant’s literacy development

• ROOTS TO READ is run by a dedicated team of volunteers and is fully dependent on your donations.


To make donations to the Roots to Read program through the Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation please use the form below. 100% of all donations will go directly to fund the program