We're Elementary Literacy

We are a collaborative non-profit that uses proven programming and cutting-edge approaches to close the literacy gap. We work to empower kids and advocate for progressive policy.

What We Do

Our programs impact children at a critical time in their education. For most students, learning to read is concentrated in a single year around age six or seven. Some struggle. But the right interventions can lead to exceptional outcomes for these emerging readers.

Our Mandate


Work collaboratively with parents, schools and businesses so kids get the extra support they need.


To offer and champion the development of high-quality, evidence-based early literacy programs and policies across New Brunswick to ensure more children learn to read and write well.


Children have the right to education and learning experiences that give them the knowledge and skills they need to thrive.

Community members and volunteers can effectively support the teaching and learning efforts of schools and families.

Close and respectful collaboration can help provide children with individualized learning experiences.

Our work is evidence-based and our progress is regularly monitored and reported.

We value the safety and integrity of all our partners and staff.

We see the diversity of New Brunswick children as a strength

Demographic realities create barriers to the literacy outcomes of many New Brunswick children.

Our Impact

We make a difference that can be felt – and measured.


Percentage of schools reporting improved attitudes to reading and learning after our program

700 +

Number of volunteers who mentored 860 students last year


Number of hours of literacy instruction we provided last year

Our Team

Our staff brings deep experience, diverse skill sets and a shared passion to help children and build a better New Brunswick.

Julie Smith — Executive Director


Julie brings over a decade of government experience creating social programs and policy solutions for many different aspects of society. She is a New Brunswick Champion for Children’s Rights and a BMW Foundation Global Responsible Leader.

Program Manager, Innovation and Continuous Improvement


Laura believes that reading should be a protected human right, that we owe it to children and families to ensure that reading instruction is informed by the enormous body of research in reading science. She studied international relations and political science at Mount Allison University and joined Elementary Literacy in 2016.

Catherine Barry — ELF Program Manager


Catherine holds a Bachelor of Education and Masters in Educational Psychology and has experience teaching elementary and high school. Catherine is passionate about reading and the impact it has on lives from childhood to adulthood. Catherine is on maternity leave until 2021.

Janis Walker — Program Coordinator


Janis has been an ELF program coordinator since 2012. She is a retired elementary teacher and literacy mentor from Fredericton. She developed the program curriculum and volunteer training materials for the ELF program.

Joanie Guignard


Manager of the CLEF program since 2012, Joanie believes in the strength of communities. She holds a bachelor’s in information-communications from the Université de Moncton and has extensive experience in the school system.

Melissa McKinnon — Acting ELF Program Manager


Melissa has experience in elementary education and English as a second language. Helping children learn to read and become healthy, confident individuals creates strong communities, which is also very important to her.

Sara Magill — Fundraising and Partnerships Lead


Since joining ELI in 2019, Sara has collaborated with community members and partners to make a difference in the lives of children across the province. She holds a BA with a major in psychology from UNB.

Board Members

Our directors are leaders in business, community and government who provide invaluable strategic direction.

Dr. Shelley Rinehart

Dean of Business, University of NB

Executive Member

Roxanne Fairweather

CEO, Innovatia

Executive Member

Hon. Dr. Marilyn Trenholme-Counsell

Past President, New Brunswick Literacy Coalition and literacy advocate


Patrick Lacroix

President, PGTL Public Affairs


Marcel Lavoie

Deputy Minister, Francophone Sector, Department of Education and Early Childhood


Gerald Richard

Deputy Minister, Health


George Daly

Deputy Minister, Anglophone Sector, Department of Education and Early Childhood

William Dever

Retired lawyer


Get Involved

Get Involved

Share the gift of reading with a New Brunswick child. A little of your time can have a huge impact on their life.