The Joe DiMaggio NICU at Memorial Hospital Miramar has kicked off its annual Read-a-Thon for newborns showing the benefits of reading to your child from birth. 

“Coming here has taught us so many things, but one thing that they have definitely taught us is how crucial and beneficial reading is to newborns and especially preemies,” said mother Stephanie Diaz who has been reading to her newborn named Noah.

The organizers say getting a head start on literacy provides some real, tangible benefits such as stimulating your baby’s brain development and alleviating stress. 

“We all know that reading early to your baby helps in the parent-child bonding relationship, it helps with speech development later on and neurodevelopment as well,” said Elaine Green, Nurse Practitioner at the Joe DiMaggio NICU Memorial Hospital Miramar. 

With the help of the creative nurses in the NICU, they came up with the Mighty Readers theme for this year’s event and have added on to their existing children’s library. 

“One thing I was really nervous about was since he was taken out of me so quickly, I was afraid that he was not going to remember my voice. So I do make sure to constantly speak to him and read to him so that he gets all the benefits and that way he knows who Mommy is,” said Diaz. 

Mother Stephanie Pineda has started a new chapter as a first-time parent and she’s enjoyed reading to her baby Sophia. 

“For brain development, it’s really good for premies. I feel like she really loves it and she makes little smiles,” said Pineda. 

The Read-a-Thon is part of a larger international program called the Babies With Books Organization. This year’s event began on September 12th and runs until September 22nd.

Every participant received a guide with multiple resources and materials that would entice family reading and promote NICU morale.

Last year, they had a total of 5,152 minutes read over the ten days of the Read-a-Thon. They hope to beat those numbers this year. 

This content was originally published here.

Picture of Michael Bourdon

Michael Bourdon


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