Babies With Books Read-a-thon

Join the September 2021 read-a-thon!

70 NICUs registered and counting

The annual Babies With Books NICU read-a-thon is a friendly reading competition between both families and NICUs. The read-a-thon works to encourage family reading, support infants and families, and build NICU morale especially during the isolating time of COVID-19. 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.  

September 2021 Read-a-thon NICU Registrants

  • Advocate Children's Hospital - Park Ridge

  • Advocate Children's Hospital at Advocate Christ Medical Center

  • Ann & Robert H. Lurie Childrens Hospital of Chicago

  • Baylor Scott & White Medical Center - Irving

  • Baylor University Medical Center - Dallas

  • Carle Foundation Hospital

  • Catholic Medical Center Special Care Nursery

  • Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

  • Chester County Hospital - CHOP Newborn & Pediatric Care

  • Children's Hospital New Orleans

  • Children's Mercy Hospital

  • Cone Health

  • Connecticut Children's Medical Center

  • Connecticut Children's NICU at UConn Health Center

  • Dell Children's Medical Center

  • Dublin Methodist Hospital - Nationwide Children's Hospital

  • Grant Medical Center - Nationwide Children's Hospital

  • Greater Baltimore Medical Center

  • Humber River Hospital

  • Javon Bea Hospital - Riverside

  • Joe Di Maggio Children's Hospital

  • John R. Oishei Children's Hospital

  • Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children

  • Medstar Franklin Square Medical Center

  • Memorial Miramar Hospital

  • Mercy Health St. Mary's Hospital

  • Mercy Kids Hospital

  • Mission Children's Hospital

  • Mott Children's Hospital (University of Michigan)

  • Mount Carmel St Ann's Hospital

  • Nemours Children's Hospital

  • OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital

  • OSF HealthCare Children's Hospital of Illinois

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

  • PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at Riverbend

  • Penn Medicine Women and Babies Hospital

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

  • Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center

  • Portland Providence Medical Center

  • Presbyterian Hospital

  • Randall Children's Hospital

  • Regional One Health

  • Regions Hospital

  • Rose Medical Center

  • Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital - NHS Foundation Trust

  • Salem Hospital - Salem Health

  • Sanford Children's Hospital - Fargo

  • Sanford USD Medical Center - Sioux Falls

  • 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

  • University Hospitals - Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital

  • University of Illinois Health

  • University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital

  • University of Vermont Children's Hospital

  • UR Medicine Golisano Children's Hospital

  • Valley Medical Center

  • Victoria General Hospital

  • Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies

  • Wolfson Children's 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

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