Staff and families of babies in Bronson’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) recently completed the first Bronson NICU Read-a-Thon to promote early literacy.
Read-a-Thon 2021 allowed every NICU family to receive 9+ books to read bedside and take home with them. The Read-a-Thon included tips of the day with information on the benefits of reading to babies and children and a chance for patients to win prizes for completed books.
Kalamazoo Public Library and community donations through Barnes and Noble helped to supply books for NICU families. Bronson’s NICU music therapist, art therapist and parent liaison organized the event.
"We know that the NICU can be a stressful place, says Suzanna A. Peczeniuk-Hoffman, board-certified music therapist at Bronson Children Hospital. “Reading and singing to your baby helps not only with language development and early literacy, but also promotes bonding and helps decrease stress. Babies love the familiarity of their parents' and their siblings' voices,” explains Peczeniuk-Hoffman “Adding the element of competition of who can read/sing the most books to the baby made the event fun not only for families, but also staff.” While siblings currently are not able to visit due to COVID-19 visitor restrictions, NICU staff were able to involve them by making recordings of the siblings’ voices to be played for their baby brother or sister at the bedside.
“We are so grateful to the Kalamazoo Public Library and the community supported Barnes and Noble book drive for the donation of books,” says Liz Semaan, executive director, Bronson Health Foundation. “It is a fun and beneficial way to engage staff and families and we look forward to do more read-a-thons in the future."