Lire/Imagine/Read: Literacy Promotion at the Montreal Children’s Hospital

LogoLaunched in March 2007, Lire/Imagine/Read (LIR) is a collaborative project between the Montreal Children's Hospital and The Centre which aims to promote literacy, engage families in reading, and create a hospital orientation to literacy and health. As part of our involvement in Lire/Imagine/Read, we have designed staff training and are developing research to identify program impacts.

The program currently takes place in four primary pediatric clinics: Pediatric Consultation, Residents' Continuity, the Multicultural Clinic, and the Neonatal Clinic which follows children at risk for developmental delays after an admission to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Parents and children who visit these clinics receive a book in their mother tongue, plus:

- Guidance on the importance of reading for healthy child development

- A Literacy Promotion bookmark

- Information about age-appropriate reading and libraries as resources, as well as information about adult literacy programs, if appropriate.

Volunteer readers are available in waiting rooms. The volunteers help to model reading for parents, and help decrease the stress of waiting.

  • LIR gives thousands of books each year to families at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. It is connected to other MCH literacy programs including Biblio-Express which delivers books to hospitalized children, and Books for Babies which gives books to parents in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and encourages them to read as a way to feel closer to their baby.
  • LIR also offers workshops and consulting services for hospital staff to provide background on current literacy research, highlighting the links between literacy and health.


Family Literacy Day


An annual highlight of Lire/Imagine/Read (LIR) is the Family Literacy Day celebration at the Montreal Children’s Hospital run since 2007. Volunteers give thousands of free books, one to every child -- infant to teen, who visits the hospital clinics that day. They also offer tips and advice for parents and guidance for health care providers on integrating literacy promotion into pediatric practice. The Hospital opens the day by sponsoring a Medical Grand Rounds lecture related to literacy and child development.


Family Literacy Day – Evidence on bilingualism: Myths and truths re typically-developing and at-risk children – January 28, 2015

The 2015 presentation offered an overview of the evidence on bilingualism related to typically-developing and at-risk children, subtitled Everything you should know when a parent asks: “Would it be better to expose my child only to one language?" by Caroline Erdos.


Presenter Caroline Erdos, PhD, S-LP (C) has been a speech-language pathologist at the Montreal Children’s Hospital since 1996. Her areas of expertise include bilingualism and multilingualism, reading impairment, oral language impairment, foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and craniofacial disorders. Caroline also works in a trilingual school, has served as a legal expert in the field of speech-language pathology, and speaks widely. Her doctoral dissertation at McGill University was on predicting oral language and literacy outcomes of elementary students in French Immersion programs. Caroline and her husband have two boys who are exposed to two languages at home and three at school.

Videos from past Medical Grand Rounds lectures on literacy and pediatric practice by Drs. Robert Needlman and Kenneth Pugh can be found below.


Family Literacy 2014 (January 29, 2014)

On Wednesday January 29th Dr Kenneth Pugh gave a public lectures on “Neurobiological Studies of Reading Development and Reading Disability: Understanding reading disabilities and treatments.” He discussed the treatment of children with reading disabilities, as well as the key relations between genetics, neurofunction and cognition in young children at risk for RD.

Dr Pugh also spoke on the same subject to an audience of medical professionals at the Medical Grand Rounds earlier that day.


About the speaker:

Dr. Kenneth Pugh is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Connecticut and an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Yale School of Medicine. He is also the President, Director of Research, and Senior Scientist at Haskins Laboratories in New Haven, Connecticut, and the Director of the Yale Reading Center. He is a cognitive neuroscientist and experimental psychologist best known for his work on the neural, behavioral and cognitive underpinnings of reading and other cognitive activities.

Family Literacy Day celebration, January 23, 2013

This was the 7th Annual Family Literacy Day event. Dr. Robert Needlman - pediatrician, associate professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, current author of Dr. Spock, and co-founder of the Reach Out and Read program, gave a Grand Medical Rounds lecture on pediatric practice and literacy.  His presentation is available here:



Note: To watch this video you need to have both
Javascript enabled and either Adobe Flash Player installed or an HTML5-capable browser.




Family Literacy Day celebration (January 25, 2012)

Montreal Children's Hospital Family Life workers on Family Literacy Day

The Centre collaborated with the Lire/Imagine/Read program at the Montreal Children’s Hospital on an annual event marking Family Literacy Day.  A Grand Rounds lecture to health professionals by Dr. Alyson Shaw ["Read, speak, sing: Promoting literacy in the physician’s office"] kicked off the day. We gave hundreds of books to families of patients and provided information on literacy and child development to staff.

New Bookmarks and Handouts - We created bookmarks and handouts on encouraging children to read, in English and in French.

Brochures on reading and child development

Flyers produced on reading and children's development: for children aged 0-2, 2-6, 6-9, pre-teens and adolescents.


International Literacy Day Celebration- September 8, 2011. The Montreal Children’s Hospital and The Centre hosted an exciting event at the hospital to create a Reading Corner in honour of beloved author Roch Carrier.


Poster Display

The Lire/Imagine/Read project was selected for a poster display at the 2007 Canadian Association for Pediatric Health Centres (CAPHC) conference, and chosen as one of 10 for a spoken session.



LIR received original support from the Alva Foundation, and now relies on generous donors to the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation, The Montreal Children’s Auxiliary and The Centre for Literacy please follow these links for more information on how to donate to the project.


Return to Top