Multi-Site NICU Read-a-thon

Join us!

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​Join us this September 14th - 24th, 2020

In a multi-NICU read-a-thon to celebrate and encourage shared family reading and improve the NICU experience during this difficult and isolating time of COVID-19!


How does this multi-site NICU read-a-thon work?

A NICU read-a-thon is a friendly reading competition between NICUs. Our read-a-thon’s goals are to encourage family reading, support infants and families, and build NICU morale. Hospitals will compete with each-other for the greatest family engagement and the winning hospitals will receive prizes. Our BWB team will provide all participating NICUs with a process guide detailing how to organize a read-a-thon, providing reading tracking sheets/raffle tickets, family and healthcare provider information sheets, bookmarks, prize suggestions and more! 

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


Already have books in your NICU? Fabulous! 

Don’t have books in your NICU and want to participate?  You still can! Scroll down.


How can my NICU join and implement the read-a-thon?

Once you register to receive the process guide below, we will send you detailed information on organizing and implementing your read-a-thon including templates for staff and family education, reading tracking sheets, raffle tickets, bookmarks, prize basket ideas, sourcing info, and more! You can use these resources to organize a read-a-thon that best serves your NICU family and healthcare provider population.


Read-a-thon Timeline

Process guide sent to NICUs: by mid-August, 2020

Read-a-thon Dates:  Monday, September 14th - Thursday, September 24th, 2020 

NICU Reading Tracking Sheet Submission:  Friday, September 25th - Tuesday, September 29th, 2020

NICU Winners announced: Thursday, October 1, 2020


What should I do once I register?

Once registered, identify how you will provide books to your NICU. If you have books in your NICU, fabulous! If you don’t have books, there are many ways your NICU can get books - see below.


How can I get books for my NICU?

First, identify the infection control policies of your NICU on whether you must use new books. You will likely need new books but some hospitals allow gently-used books (typically board/cardboard books) that have been cleaned with disinfectant. Families may also bring in their own books.

Below are some suggestions for getting books 

New books:

  • Ask your hospital volunteers to help. With COVID-19 halting in-person hospital volunteering, many volunteers are eager to help the hospital and don’t know how to. Communicate with your volunteer office/coordinator, NICU volunteers, or family/parent liasons asking them to donate new books or money you’ll use to purchase books. 

  • Ask local/regional bookstores if they will provide discounted or free books in exchange for promotion to your NICU (you can adapt the resources we provide in our process guide to highlight the bookstore as a partner)

  • Ask your hospital foundation to financially support the read-a-thon

Cleaned, gently-used books:

  • Ask libraries, schools, or book bank non-profits to donate books

  • Ask your volunteer community to donate books

Our BWB team is available to support your work and answer questions along the way! Email us at

To learn more about BWB and NICU reading, see our poster on our NICU reading program from the Vermont Oxford Network Annual Quality Congress

©2020 by Babies With Books