NICU Staff in Bend, Oregon’s St. Charles Medical Center reached out to NICU Families Northwest last year with interest in our parent-baby bonding initiative, The Littlest Reader Project. This fantastic program brings beautiful children’s books to inpatient families as a keepsake gift to encourage them to read to their newborn baby.
NICU Families Northwest is proud and excited to announce that with funds obtained through a mini-grant from the St. Charles Foundation, The Littlest Reader Project will expand its reach and write a new chapter in Bend this Spring. 250 copies of Il Sung Na’s delightful, Book of Babies will be provided to St. Charles Medical Center, complete with a commemorative sticker and a 5.5 x 8.5″ illustrated postcard featuring an inspirational literary quote and background information on the project.
Reading aloud is a great way for parents to bond with their NICU baby and can contribute to healthy language acquisition and development. The Littlest Reader Project was born out of a desire to facilitate bonding opportunities when medical necessity prevents or postpones parent involvement in routine care or skin-to-skin time (”kangaroo-care”). Babies become familiar with environmental sounds and voices during pregnancy and are comforted by the tone, rhythm, and language of their parents as well as that of siblings, or grandparents, even when born significantly premature. It is our hope that providing books to NICU families will increase access for low-income populations, make positive memories, and establish a regular reading routine that will be the foundation for family literacy.
We are so pleased to support families at St. Charles Medical Center and grateful for the opportunity to expand The Littlest Reader Project to include such an incredible facility. We look forward to working with their wonderful staff to improve support for families of NICU babies.
If you, your organization, or your NICU staff are interested in bringing The Littlest Reader Project to a hospital or NICU community outside our current region of service, please email Anna David at Anna@NICUFamiliesNW.org for more information on pricing, customization, and grant writing support.