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Babies With Books Read-a-thon

2023 Read-a-thon

Registration is now open for the September 2023 read-a-thon!



Join us this Sept 11-21, 2023 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 11-21, 2023) builds on last September’s event in which 154 NICUs participated and there were a total of 31,879 reading sessions over the 11 day period.

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.  

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

2022 Read-a-thon

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


NICUs participated


Reading sessions at each participating NICU


Average number of reading sessions per infant per day

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2021 Read-a-thon:

Winning Hospitals (based on reading rate):

First: Rochester General Hospital

Second: Providence Portland Medical Center

Third: Emory Decatur Hospital

2020 Read-a-thon:


NICUs participated


Reading sessions at each participating NICU


Average number of reading sessions per infant per day

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


Planned future read-a-thon dates:



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

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