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Iqaluit’s babies and young children get an early literacy boost along with their vaccinations

More about Early Words

More than 200 books are already in little hands through health department collaboration with Canadian Children’s Literacy Foundation

Babies and pre-school children getting their immunizations in Iqaluit are going home with new children’s books, through a new program aimed at inspiring families to give their little ones a strong start on the road to reading.

Talking, reading and singing with young children, right from birth, helps them get ready to learn long before they head off to school. The Canadian Children’s Literacy Foundation’s Early Words/Premiers mots program, in collaboration with Iqaluit Public Health, is giving families a helping hand. Families receive a children’s book in either Inuktitut, English or French, as well as tips on surrounding their child with words to support literacy development at home.
This collaboration builds on the books distributed by the Government of Nunavut through the Newborn Wellness Program and other initiatives. The recent explosion of northern children’s publishing, including books for babies commissioned by the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, is key to making this possible.
The Early Words program is a first step as we aim to drive lasting systemic change in how professionals working with young children think about brain development, early literacy and learning, and how they can best support families.
Program supporters
In addition to the healthcare teams, we are grateful for the input and support from community advisors including the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, Ilitaqsiniq, Department of Education Early Years staff, publisher Inhabit Media, Inhabit Education Books, and the Friends of the Iqaluit Centennial Library, among others.
Funding for the Early Words/Premiers mots program has been generously provided by the RBC Foundation, The Gerald Schwartz & Heather Reisman Foundation, The Azrieli Foundation and the Kids Brain Health Network.
Early Words/Premiers mots program expansion
This collaboration is part of the Canadian Children’s Literacy Foundation’s new Early Words/Premiers mots program, which is designed to deliver early literacy information and resources to families through the professionals who work with them. That program is expanding and we are seeking interest from communities and health providers wishing to participate.
The Early Words/Premiers mots program provides tools and resources, while healthcare leaders work with us to decide what literacy support is most needed in their community.
To learn more, contact us at We look forward to hearing from you.