NB physicians prescribe reading to benefit learning and health

The New Brunswick Medical Society and Elementary Literacy Inc. are partnering to promote literacy through physician offices in New Brunswick.

The new RX for Reading program encourages parents to read to and with their children for at least 20 minutes every day by delivering prescription pads focused on reading to New Brunswick family physicians and pediatricians.

“Though the benefits of reading are well known, offering a tangible prescription has been proven to help patients commit to better habits, versus a verbal suggestion,” said Dr. Lynn Murphy-Kaulbeck, President-elect of the New Brunswick Medical Society. “We are proud to partner with Elementary Literacy Inc. and continue our work to advocate the health and social benefits of literacy through the RX for Reading initiative.”

The Public Health Agency of Canada finds they Canadians with low literacy skills are more likely to be unemployed and poor, to suffer poorer health and a shorter lifespan than Canadians with high levels of literacy.

“Reading to your child every day helps develop their language and literacy skills, prepares them for school and sets them up for success,” said Dr. Erin Schryer, Executive Director of Elementary Literacy Inc. “We are grateful that our New Brunswick physicians value the importance of literacy as well, and will promote reading in their clinics.”

Studies show that children who read for 20 minutes per day scores in the 90th percentile of their class, while those who read for five minutes per day score in the 50th percentile. A child who reads 20 minutes per day starting in kindergarten will have read for the equivalent of 60 school days by the time they graduate – a notable advantage over a child who reads for only five minutes per day, which would total only 12 school days over the length of their education.

To learn more about Rx for Reading, please visit the NBMS and ELI websites: www.nbms.nb.ca and www.elfnb.com.

Media Contacts: Andrew McLean, New Brunswick Medical Society, (506) 462-4623
                       Dr. Erin Schryer, Elementary Literacy Inc., (506) 608-8333