Read-a-thon Immerses Babies in Storybook Magic at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital NICU at Memorial Hospital Miramar

September 13, 2023

Dad reading to infant in NICU

The Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital NICU at Memorial Hospital Miramar brought together the spirit of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Awareness Month and National Literacy Month in a heartwarming Read-a-thon celebration. Embracing the power of reading, the hospital created a cozy reading corner filled with books, enabling parents to choose stories that fostered bonding with their babies and facilitated quicker healing.

Elaine Green, nurse practitioner at Memorial Hospital Miramar and the driving force behind the program, expressed pride in their efforts to promote early reading in the NICU.

“We believe that reading from a young age has numerous benefits, such as nurturing parental bonding, reducing the stress of hospitalization, and aiding in neurodevelopment and literacy skills.”

As part of the Read-a-thon, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital’s NICU at Memorial Hospital Miramar initiated a community book drive and distributed books to all families currently staying in the NICU. In an enchanting twist, parents and healthcare professionals dressed the babies in costumes inspired by beloved storybook characters, including the old lady that lived in a shoe, Little Bo Peep, and the mouse that ran up the clock. This fun-filled day aimed to inspire more parents to read to their babies in the NICU, creating a magical bond and sharing the exceptional care provided by Memorial Hospital Miramar.

Jon Itula, a proud participant and parent of the cow that jumped over the moon, expressed his enthusiasm for the reading program.

"We think it’s super important to read to our children. When I read to him in the NICU, you can see him drift to sleep and react to the stories and my voice. The staff here has been so helpful - they genuinely care. Things like this are so kind, dressing up our baby, we just feel like family.”

Ranked 10th in the country by Babies with Books, the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital NICU at Memorial Hospital Miramar’s reading program has enchanted families and professionals alike for the last three years.

This year, the theme, “Story Time with the Mighty Readers,” adds another chapter to the hospital’s growing legacy of compassionate and innovative healthcare.