Little Readers Read-a-thon

Even the tiniest babies need frequent exposure to spoken language to ensure optimal early brain development.

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Reading really matters

During a baby’s time in the Neonatal Unit critical brain development is occurring, including the development of the pathways in the brain that control language skills. By reading to their babies, parents are not only bonding with them and reducing some of the stress associated with being in the NICU, they are also supporting their baby’s brain development.

Babies need frequent exposure to meaningful auditory experiences to ensure optimal early brain development.

Research has identified a number of benefits of reading from early infancy, with a lasting effect on language, literacy and early reading skills with a boost in vocabulary at four years of age. See list of scholarly articles below.

Little Readers read-a-thon

This year NIDCAP is promoting participation in the Little Readers Read-a-thon. Any neonatal unit (NICU/SCN) in Australia can participate in the Little Readers Read-a-thon. Units need to register to officially participate in the Read-a-thon in order to be eligible or prizes and to provide access to resources.

How to register

Registrations for the Little Readers Read-a-thon will occur through the Life’s Little Treasures. Registrations open in August.

Why participate?

Units who register for the Little Readers Read-a-thon receive a toolkit which includes:

  • electronic resources (factsheets, promotion posters, participation certificates, log sheets, survey tools)
  • printed resources (bookmarks, reading booklets).

Registrants also have the opportunity to win prizes for highest total number of books read and highest total numbers of reading minutes!

Preparing for the Read-a-thon

Consider how you can promote the event to parents and staff and what resources you have available to you.

If you don't have an existing reading library in your unit consider how you could start one—can you ask for donations from local businesses or supporters? Perhaps your school library or local council library provide you with decommissioned books.

Don't forget to promote the event!

Download the Save the date flyer to promote the event with your team and families!

Promotional resources

You can download and print the following resources:

Supporting evidence

The following publications and resources explore reading and language in the neonatal setting.


Exposure to Language