New literacy program kicks off with a ROAR at St. Joseph's Hospital

News Jul 20, 2017 by Hilary Caton Bloor West Villager

St. Joseph’s new literacy program for its preschool patients has kicked off with a ROAR.

The west-end hospital officially launched its literacy program Reach Out And Read (ROAR) on Wednesday, July 19 in its Family Medicine department.

The American, evidence-based program supports children and their parents by providing literacy advice, age-appropriate books, and a connection to community programs and libraries.

The program, which is in partnership with the Toronto Public Library, has received $10,000 in funding from ImagineIF — an innovation fund available to staff, physicians and students. From those funds, St. Joe’s was able to purchase 1,000 books from Annick Press at cost.  

The Toronto Public Library helped the community hospital choose age-appropriate books to give to the younger patients, ages six months to five years, and helped stock each exam room with the right books for patients to take home.

“The whole idea behind it is to make reading prominent and to make families aware that reading from birth makes a difference in their children’s ability to learn when they enter school,” said Peggy Thomas, the manager of children services with the Toronto Public Library.

“We also want to be aware that families that come into the clinic speak multiple languages. So, the less words they have to decipher, the more approachable the books are and the more use they’ll get with families. So, that’s been a strong component of the program, too.”

The initiative has three main components. The first is the “literacy rich” waiting room, which is filled with books in different languages by Canadian authors and some local talent, too.

The second is the counselling families receive during ROAR visits about what books are appropriate for their child’s age and connecting them with resources in the community.

And the third component is that kids can walk away with a free book for their age group, with a resource bag filled with information about Toronto libraries.

“It’s exciting to have an initiative where we talk about literacy, because I feel there is a deficit in our medical training about being able to address literacy and preventive care,” said Sarah Whynot, a second-year resident at St. Joe’s who helped bring the initiative to the hospital.

ROAR’s aim is to implement a prevention strategy to combat illiteracy by encouraging the development of literacy skills in the primary care setting to preschool-aged patients. More than 500 children under five years of age come to St. Joe’s Family Medicine clinic for care each year. A large portion of these children are from low-income families and/or are newcomers to Canada, and are considered a vulnerable population to low literacy skills and its associated negative social and health outcomes.

Literacy not only affects health outcomes later in adulthood, but it affects employment rates, income and how long children stay in school,” said second-year resident Melissa Yu.

“So, being able to address that from primary care perspective, I think we’re really fortunate to have a hand in that.”

New literacy program kicks off with a ROAR at St. Joseph's Hospital

The program in partnership with the Toronto Public Library has already purchased 1,000 books

News Jul 20, 2017 by Hilary Caton Bloor West Villager

St. Joseph’s new literacy program for its preschool patients has kicked off with a ROAR.

The west-end hospital officially launched its literacy program Reach Out And Read (ROAR) on Wednesday, July 19 in its Family Medicine department.

The American, evidence-based program supports children and their parents by providing literacy advice, age-appropriate books, and a connection to community programs and libraries.

The program, which is in partnership with the Toronto Public Library, has received $10,000 in funding from ImagineIF — an innovation fund available to staff, physicians and students. From those funds, St. Joe’s was able to purchase 1,000 books from Annick Press at cost.  

The Toronto Public Library helped the community hospital choose age-appropriate books to give to the younger patients, ages six months to five years, and helped stock each exam room with the right books for patients to take home.

“The whole idea behind it is to make reading prominent and to make families aware that reading from birth makes a difference in their children’s ability to learn when they enter school,” said Peggy Thomas, the manager of children services with the Toronto Public Library.

“We also want to be aware that families that come into the clinic speak multiple languages. So, the less words they have to decipher, the more approachable the books are and the more use they’ll get with families. So, that’s been a strong component of the program, too.”

The initiative has three main components. The first is the “literacy rich” waiting room, which is filled with books in different languages by Canadian authors and some local talent, too.

The second is the counselling families receive during ROAR visits about what books are appropriate for their child’s age and connecting them with resources in the community.

And the third component is that kids can walk away with a free book for their age group, with a resource bag filled with information about Toronto libraries.

“It’s exciting to have an initiative where we talk about literacy, because I feel there is a deficit in our medical training about being able to address literacy and preventive care,” said Sarah Whynot, a second-year resident at St. Joe’s who helped bring the initiative to the hospital.

ROAR’s aim is to implement a prevention strategy to combat illiteracy by encouraging the development of literacy skills in the primary care setting to preschool-aged patients. More than 500 children under five years of age come to St. Joe’s Family Medicine clinic for care each year. A large portion of these children are from low-income families and/or are newcomers to Canada, and are considered a vulnerable population to low literacy skills and its associated negative social and health outcomes.

Literacy not only affects health outcomes later in adulthood, but it affects employment rates, income and how long children stay in school,” said second-year resident Melissa Yu.

“So, being able to address that from primary care perspective, I think we’re really fortunate to have a hand in that.”

New literacy program kicks off with a ROAR at St. Joseph's Hospital

The program in partnership with the Toronto Public Library has already purchased 1,000 books

News Jul 20, 2017 by Hilary Caton Bloor West Villager

St. Joseph’s new literacy program for its preschool patients has kicked off with a ROAR.

The west-end hospital officially launched its literacy program Reach Out And Read (ROAR) on Wednesday, July 19 in its Family Medicine department.

The American, evidence-based program supports children and their parents by providing literacy advice, age-appropriate books, and a connection to community programs and libraries.

The program, which is in partnership with the Toronto Public Library, has received $10,000 in funding from ImagineIF — an innovation fund available to staff, physicians and students. From those funds, St. Joe’s was able to purchase 1,000 books from Annick Press at cost.  

The Toronto Public Library helped the community hospital choose age-appropriate books to give to the younger patients, ages six months to five years, and helped stock each exam room with the right books for patients to take home.

“The whole idea behind it is to make reading prominent and to make families aware that reading from birth makes a difference in their children’s ability to learn when they enter school,” said Peggy Thomas, the manager of children services with the Toronto Public Library.

“We also want to be aware that families that come into the clinic speak multiple languages. So, the less words they have to decipher, the more approachable the books are and the more use they’ll get with families. So, that’s been a strong component of the program, too.”

The initiative has three main components. The first is the “literacy rich” waiting room, which is filled with books in different languages by Canadian authors and some local talent, too.

The second is the counselling families receive during ROAR visits about what books are appropriate for their child’s age and connecting them with resources in the community.

And the third component is that kids can walk away with a free book for their age group, with a resource bag filled with information about Toronto libraries.

“It’s exciting to have an initiative where we talk about literacy, because I feel there is a deficit in our medical training about being able to address literacy and preventive care,” said Sarah Whynot, a second-year resident at St. Joe’s who helped bring the initiative to the hospital.

ROAR’s aim is to implement a prevention strategy to combat illiteracy by encouraging the development of literacy skills in the primary care setting to preschool-aged patients. More than 500 children under five years of age come to St. Joe’s Family Medicine clinic for care each year. A large portion of these children are from low-income families and/or are newcomers to Canada, and are considered a vulnerable population to low literacy skills and its associated negative social and health outcomes.

Literacy not only affects health outcomes later in adulthood, but it affects employment rates, income and how long children stay in school,” said second-year resident Melissa Yu.

“So, being able to address that from primary care perspective, I think we’re really fortunate to have a hand in that.”