BABIES WITH BOOKS
Student-led organization bringing early literacy into healthcare
beginning in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Education is the foundation of success. We’re here to help start it early.
Highlighted BWB partner hospitals (read-a-thon participants from 2020-2022)
We are a student-led organization supporting our community’s most fragile babies hospitalized in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). We support NICU families during their baby’s hospitalization by giving them books and educating them on how and why NICU reading promotes infant brain development, supports family bonding, and decreases infant and parental stress related to intensive care hospitalization.
WHY READ IN THE NICU?
Reading in the NICU has been demonstrated to be important for speech and language development, school readiness, and success later on in life. NICU babies are at increased risk of poor developmental outcomes such as speech delays and lower IQs due to medical complications, abnormal auditory experiences in the first months of life, separation of babies and families, and family socioeconomic stressors both prior to and related to the NICU hospitalization.
OUR WORK IN THE NICU
NICU BOOK ROUNDS
Based upon medical research on the benefits of reading with infants in the NICU, our first of its kind teen-led NICU book rounds program builds bonds between parents and babies during a time of crisis and creates normalcy in the ICU. BWB teens meet one-on-one with families to discuss the joys and benefits of reading beginning in the NICU. By ensuring all families leave the NICU with at least one book and knowledge of the importance of early literacy, BWB helps a generation of children to read and succeed.
ADMIT READING PACKETS
Through our NICU Admit Reading Packets, each NICU family is introduced to our reading program with a book and information about how and why to read with their baby in the NICU.
RANDALL READS -
THE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL THAT READS
BWB's focus on supporting children and families through the power of books and reading together has inspired a hospital-wide focus on supporting early literacy and family bonding throughout Randall Children's Hospital (RCH). BWB is working with RCH to develop an integrated literacy focus throughout the children's hospital recognizing education as central to health so that every child leaves the hospital with at least one book. Together, we are establishing RCH as "Randall Reads - The Children's Hospital That Reads!"
We are currently hosting the fourth annual Babies With Books read-a-thon this Sept 11-21, 2023 to support NICU families and celebrate shared reading!
The BWB Read-a-thon is a friendly reading competition between NICUs to encourage reading with babies in the NICU for its many benefits to babies and families. This read-a-thon (Sept 11-21, 2023) builds on last September’s event in which 154 NICUs participated and there were 31,879 reading sessions over the 11 day period.
Reading to my NICU baby never crossed my mind before BWB came to our room.
My husband doesn't always know how to connect with our son since he's so little. Reading to him gives my husband the opportunity to bond in an easy way.
To see someone so young step up and advocate for a program like this just makes me so happy, as an educator and a mother. Keep up the amazing work - it is more appreciated than you’ll ever know!
HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL TESTIMONIALS
Bringing a book into the complex NICU environment and helping the family feel comfortable singing, talking, reading to their baby is one of the most important things we can do.
BWB is remarkable not only because it is the single teen-led program in the country and one of only several dozen programs reported, but because of its scope, measured impact, and incorporation of and contribution to best practices for literacy promotion in healthcare.
RCH NICU Medical Director
BRING BWB TO YOUR NICU!
We are sharing an in-depth procedural guide of our NICU reading program to hospitals across the United States and world. If you would like to build on this work and adapt or adopt the program in your hospital, fill out the form below (click the button) to receive our process guide. We are sharing our program resources for free to make NICU reading promotion accessible everywhere.
Why use our program as a model?
Research-based educational materials for both families and healthcare providers on the importance of NICU reading
Our guide details multiple program structures, building on our learnings of utilizing teen volunteers to decrease burden on healthcare systems and providers (our guide also describes programs adaptations without volunteers)
We share our learnings from 3.5 years of program development and expansion