Early Literacy Research Library (ELRL) - Article

Encouraging Our NICU to “Read-a-Latte” Leveraging a Read-a-Thon to Launch a Quality Improvement Initiative

Latif, M., Ribeiro, A. P. D., Blatz, M. A., Burkett, K., Dragon, M. A., Craver, T., Cogan, S., Ricciardi, S. & Weber, A. (2023). Encouraging Our NICU to “Read-a-Latte”: Leveraging a Read-a-Thon to Launch a Quality Improvement Initiative. Advances in Neonatal Care, 23(2), 120-131.,

Access: Institutional Access

Publication year


study description

Quality Improvement, Quantitative and qualitative methodology

core topic(s)

Early Literacy , Early Relational Health , Pediatric Primary Care , Reach Out and Read (ROR) , Shared Reading

Population Characteristics

Infant/Newborn , Medical Providers , Neonatal/NICU

Exposures, Outcomes, Other

Brain/Neurocognitive , Clinic-Based Programs and Interventions , Implementation and Evaluation , Medical Training/Education , NICU Read-a-Thon , Parent-Provider Relationships/Interactions , Read-a-Latte


Assessing the execution of a 10-day NICU Read-a-Thon and identifying potential obstacles and supports for a year-round initiative focused on enhancing reading sessions for NICU patients.



outcomes evaluated

Number of donated books and infant reading sessions, interviews, surveys, and review of source documents to evaluate Read-a-Thon


Pediatric primary care


We formed a team to carry out a Read-a-Thon and assessed its effects using both quantitative and qualitative methods. The quantitative approach involved documenting the quantity of donated books and infant reading sessions. The qualitative approach encompassed interviews, surveys, and reviews of source documents to evaluate the Read-a-Thon.

sample size

NICU, (N=12) nurses, (N=5) implementation team members


  • Semi-structured interviews with the implementation team members
  • NICU nurse feedback (N = 12) from anonymous, paper-based surveys (whether they were able to join the Read-a-thon event, barriers and impact of the event, and any additional feedback)
  • Source documents, including social media posts, NICU Patient and Family Partnership Council (PFPC) meeting minutes, Read-a-Thon implementation team meeting minutes, and select email communications among implementation team members and the NICU PFPC


We received approximately 1300 donated books and logged 663 reading sessions over the 10-day Read-a-Thon. Qualitative evaluation of the Read-a-Thon identified 6 main themes: motivation, emotional response to the program, benefits and outcomes, barriers, facilitators, and future of literacy promotion in our NICU. Our evaluation informed specific aims for improvement (eg, maintaining book accessibility) for a quality improvement initiative to sustain a year-round reading program.


Neonatal units can utilize Read-a-Thons as small tests of change to evaluate barriers, facilitators, and change processes needed to implement reading programs. Process maps of book inventory and conducting a 5 W's, 2 H's (who, what, when, where, why, how, how much) assessment can facilitate in program planning.


We recognize that using paper tickets to document reading sessions may not be sustainable for a year-round program. Healthcare professionals did not verify parent reading sessions visually, and documenting in the electronic health record was not feasible. Our team opted against visual observation, believing it would burden healthcare professionals and compromise parent autonomy. Future PDSA cycles will explore more efficient and reliable methods for documenting reading in our year-round program.