April 8, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The provincial government is providing $140,000 for a nationally recognized program that gives the parents of every newborn in the province a tote bag of reading materials and literacy information.
The bags distributed to parents by the Born to Read/Le goût de lire program contain children's books and literacy information. Many of the books are written by New Brunswick authors.
"Our government wants all children to be exposed to learning from a very young age, and this program is an excellent way to ensure that the importance of literacy is reinforced at birth," said Social Development Minister Mary Schryer. "I am happy that we are able to provide financial assistance to this nationally recognized program that encourages parents to read to their children, starting at birth."
The early literacy program was created in 1991, thanks to the efforts of Shirley Downey from St. Stephen. It became a provincial initiative under former lieutenant-governor Marilyn Trenholme Counsell. The program is now a model used across Canada.
Every year, Born to Read offers about 5,500 book bags to New Brunswick families, and Le goût de lire offers about 2,300 book bags to New Brunswick francophone families.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank the persons involved in these two programs for their continued commitment to the promotion of early childhood and family literacy in our province by encouraging parents to read to their children from birth," said Schryer.
Improved access to community-based resources that promote early learning opportunities for children is a key component of Be Ready for Success: A 10-year Early Childhood Strategy for New Brunswick. Copies are available online.
MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Hagerman, communications, Social Development, 506-444-2416.