Babies With Books Read-a-thon

2022 Read-a-thon

Registration is now open for the September 2022 read-a-thon!



Join us this Sept 12-22, 2022 in the third annual Babies With Books Read-a-thon 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 for its many benefits to NICU babies and families. This read-a-thon (Sept 12-22, 2022) builds upon last year's read-a-thon in which 101 NICUs participated (159% increase from 2020) and there were a total of 17,292 sessions of reading to babies over the nine day period (182% increase from 2020).

There is no cost to joining this NICU read-a-thon and hospitals that cannot provide books to their families can still participate! BWB will provide you with information and suggestions that make hosting a read-a-thon easy, fun, and successful. 

Participating hospitals receive BWB's read-a-thon process guide with step-by-step guidelines for organizing and implementing the read-a-thon. Our guide includes materials and resources such as:

  • Family information on how and why to read in the NICU

  • Healthcare Provider information on NICU reading rationale

  • Suggestions for engaging families and healthcare providers in read-a-thon

  • Templated materials to promote read-a-thon

  • Templated reading tracking sheets

  • ​Templated data collection sheets

  • Books lists in multiple languages, including easy access to free, online books


Learn more about how reading aloud with babies beginning in the NICU supports infant brain development, promotes family bonding, and reduces stress here.  

Planned future read-a-thon dates:


Read-a-thon: September 11-21, 2023

Midway celebration: Friday, September 15th, 2023

Final celebration: Wednesday, September 27th, 2023



Read-a-thon: September 9-19, 2024

Midway celebration: Friday, September 13th, 2024

Final celebration: Wednesday, September 25th, 2024



Read-a-thon: September 8-18, 2025

Midway celebration: Friday, September 12th, 2025

Final celebration: Wednesday, September 24th, 2025

For questions about the read-a-thon, please contact Benjamin Olshin at

Past BWB Read-a-thons (2020 & 2021)

2021 Read-a-thon

  • 101 NICU participants

    • 159% increase from 39 NICUs in the 2020 read-a-thon​

  • 17,292 total reading sessions

    • 182% increase from 6,140 sessions in the 2020 read-a-thon​

Winning Hospitals (based on reading rate):

First: Rochester General Hospital

Second: Providence Portland Medical Center

Third: Emory Decatur Hospital

2021 Read-a-thon Registrants

  • Advocate Children's Hospital - Park Ridge

  • Advocate Children's Hospital at Advocate Christ Medical Center

  • Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital

  • Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital

  • Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center

  • Akron Children's Hospital

  • Ann & Robert H. Lurie Childrens Hospital of Chicago

  • Arkansas Children's Hospital

  • Baylor Scott & White Medical Center - Frisco

  • Baylor Scott & White Medical Center - Irving

  • Baylor Scott and White Medical Center McKinney

  • Baylor University Medical Center - Dallas

  • Beacon Children's Hospital

  • Benefis Health System

  • Bozeman Health

  • BSA Hospital

  • Carle Foundation Hospital

  • Catholic Medical Center Special Care Nursery

  • Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

  • Chester County Hospital - CHOP Newborn & Pediatric Care

  • Children's Health Ireland at Temple Street

  • Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock

  • Children's Mercy Hospital

  • Children's of Alabama

  • Children’s Wisconsin

  • Christiana Care

  • Columbia University Irving Medical Center/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital

  • Cone Health

  • Connecticut Children's Medical Center

  • Connecticut Children's NICU at UConn Health Center

  • Cook Children's Medical Center

  • Cork University Maternity Hospital

  • Del Sol Medical Center

  • Dell Children's Medical Center

  • Dublin Methodist Hospital - Nationwide Children's Hospital

  • Emory Decatur Hospital

  • Grant Medical Center - Nationwide Children's Hospital

  • Humber River Hospital

  • Javon Bea Hospital - Riverside

  • Jewish General Hospital

  • Joe Di Maggio Children's Hospital

  • John R. Oishei Children's Hospital

  • Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara Medical Center

  • Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children

  • Liberty Hospital

  • Medstar Franklin Square Medical Center

  • Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital

  • Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center

  • Memorial Hermann the Woodlands

  • Memorial Hospital West

  • Memorial Miramar Hospital

  • Mercy Health St. Mary's Hospital

  • Mercy Kids Hospital

  • Mission Children's Hospital

  • Monmouth Medical Center

  • Mott Children's Hospital (University of Michigan)

  • Mount Carmel St Ann's Hospital

  • Munson Medical Center

  • Nationwide Children's Hospital

  • Nationwide Children's Hospital @ The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

  • Nemours Children's Hospital

  • Nemours Children's Hospital - Delaware

  • North Central Baptist Hospital

  • OhioHealth Doctor's Hospital

  • Oklahoma Children's Hospital

  • Olathe Medical Center

  • OSF HealthCare Children's Hospital of Illinois

  • Our Lady of Lourdes Women's & Children's Hospital

  • Parkridge East Hospital

  • PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at Riverbend

  • Penn Medicine Women and Babies Hospital

  • Penn State Children's Hospital - Neonatal ICU

  • Peyton Manning Children's Hospital - Ascension St. Vincent

  • Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center

  • Portland Providence Medical Center

  • Presbyterian Hospital

  • Providence St Peter Hospital

  • Providence St. Vincent Medical Center

  • Randall Children's Hospital

  • Regional One Health

  • Regions Hospital

  • Rochester General Hospital

  • Rose Medical Center

  • Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital - NHS Foundation Trust

  • Rush Copley Medical Center

  • Saint Luke's Kansas City

  • Salem Hospital - Salem Health

  • Sanford Children's Hospital - Fargo

  • Sanford USD Medical Center - Sioux Falls

  • St Johns Regional Medical Center

  • St. Barnabas Medical Center

  • St. Joseph Medical Center - Virginia Mason Franciscan Health

  • St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center

  • St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital - Baycare Health System

  • St. Louis Children's Hospital

  • St. Luke’s Baptist Hospital

  • St. Mary's Medical Center

  • St. Vincent Healthcare

  • Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre - DAN Women & Babies NICU

  • Swedish American Hospital

  • Swedish Medical Hospital - Issaquah

  • The Children's Hospital of San Antonio

  • The Woman's Hospital of Texas

  • Truman Medical Center-HSD

  • UCHealth - Poudre Valley Hospital

  • University Hospitals - Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital

  • University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

  • University of Illinois Health

  • University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital

  • University of Vermont Children's Hospital

  • UPMC Harrisburg

  • UR Medicine Golisano Children's Hospital

  • Valley Medical Center

  • Victoria General Hospital

  • Virtua Hospital-Voorhees campus

  • Wesley Medical Center

  • Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies

  • Wolfson Children's Hospital

  • Woman's Hospital

  • Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital

2020 Read-a-thon:


NICUs participated in the September 2020 read-a-thon


Reading sessions at each participating NICU


Of NICUs said this read-a-thon encouraged them to start or expand a reading program in their NICU


Winning Hospitals (based on reading rate):

First: Emory Decatur Hospital 

Second: University of Vermont Medical Center

Third: Rochester General Hospital

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Read-a-thon Videos

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Read-a-thon Feedback:

“Families rallied around the chance to start reading with their babies as a way to bond.”

-  NICU Nurse

"I loved it! And the babies seemed to enjoy it, too. I noticed they became calm, attentive, and had more regular heart rates and breathing rates when being read to."

- NICU Speech Therapist

"I'm so proud of our entire NICU team for participating in this amazing opportunity to help bring awareness to a crucial and often under recognized topic."

- NICU Medical Director

“This experience reminds me why I love my job."

- Chief Nursing Officer