November 5, 2020

Winnipeg Docs Put Smart Money on Literacy

Winnipeg –
A childhood reading program spearheaded by Winnipeg pediatricians is making its first foray into the realm of financial literacy this November.


The REsidents for ReADing progam—READ—teaches families the importance of reading to children from infancy, through one-on-one discussions with resident pediatricians-in-training. Families are provided with important information on early literacy, and receive a brand-new children’s book to take home at each visit. Established in 2014 with the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba, the program has provided over 30,000 books to children across the province.


While READ typically celebrates I Love to Read Month and World Book Day with very young children, the program is expanding to include children ages four to eight during November’s Financial Literacy Month through a partnership with MoneySmart Manitoba.


“We see this partnership as a great way to address a number of important concepts for young learners,” says Dr. Celia Rodd, Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Child Health Clinician Scientist at the Children's Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba. Rodd is the program’s founder and Co-Chair. “The core principles of READ are building familial bonds and early literacy skills by reading together. Our motto is ‘There is no APP to replace the LAP,’ meaning that screen-time, however educational it may be, is never a substitute for one-on-one reading time with a parent or caregiver.”


“This month, with MoneySmart, we have the opportunity to introduce numeracy skills and the basics of financial literacy for early grades children. Just like reading, it is never too early to talk to children about the value of money.” 

Through November, READ will be sharing books with concepts such as the value of money and savings, planning for expenditures, and the importance of altruism. MoneySmart Manitoba has donated 60 books, 500 READ bookmarks, posters, and social media support to celebrate financial literacy month.


READ also received a grant from The Winnipeg Foundation’s Literacy for Life program for the purchase and distribution of additional children’s books.


Part of the success of the READ program is access—with a large number of children and families circulating through both the Children’s Hospital – HSC and St. Boniface Hospital, having pediatric residents take a moment to reinforce the importance of literacy is a smart strategy. In a recent survey, 100% of parents expressed appreciation for the importance of trusted healthcare providers in discussing literacy in the clinic.

“That synergy is key,” says Emma Robin, Children’s Hospital Family Libraries Coordinator. “We leverage the relationship of trust between families, pediatric caregivers and our libraries to promote healthy literacy habits. In some cases, we can get books to lower-income families or families who live in remote areas where new books and library access may be harder to come by.”

“Reading is an important part of healthy cognitive development. As part of their training in the ambulatory (outpatient) clinic, all pediatric residents are taught by a trained Children’s Hospital librarian to make literacy promotion part of regular ‘well-baby care,’ just like vaccinations, bicycle helmets, and proper eating habits.”

We are thrilled to support READ and to see financial literacy being a focus for the program this year,” says Ainsley Cunningham, manager of the MoneySmart initiative. “Our spending and saving habits impact us throughout our lives, and introducing the core concepts of financial education at a young age leads to better informed choices and outcomes for years to come.”

The REsidents for ReADing progam—READ—teaches families the importance of reading to children starting at an early age (just 20 minutes a day), even as babies! At each well-child visit, families are seen by pediatricians-in-training (residents). During this visit, families discuss the importance of reading with their pediatrician, are provided with information on how to read to their children, and receive a brand-new children’s book for their at-home libraries!

MoneySmart Manitoba is a project of The Manitoba Financial Services Agency, which through its two divisions, regulates securities, real estate, cooperatives, credit unions, and insurance in the province. Improving financial literacy for Manitobans is part of its mission. Manitobans are invited to learn more about money matters today at, follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @MoneySmartMB, or on YouTube.


Established in 1921, The Winnipeg Foundation is Canada’s first community foundation. The Foundation is an endowment-based organization which means gifts received are pooled and invested. The income generated provides a stable source of support for our community For Good.


Media Inquiries:                        
Jason Booth, Communications Coordinator, MFSA  |  204.945.1660 |