Implementation of a pilot program of Reach Out and Read® in the neonatal intensive care unit: a quality improvement initiative

J Perinatol. 2018 Jun;38(6):759-766. doi: 10.1038/s41372-018-0060-8. Epub 2018 Feb 12.


Objective: Language exposure is important for neurodevelopment, but is sparse in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Study design: We introduced Reach Out and Read (ROR) in the NICU as a quality improvement initiative to increase language exposure. Measures included availability of books, accessibility of parents, and enrollment of infants, percent infants read to by their parents, and data from parental surveys.

Result: 98 infants were included (40 before, 58 after). We obtained books in the mother's language for 95% of infants, 82% eligible infants were enrolled, and 70% read to their infants (mean of 0.45 ± 0.35 times/day). Surveyed parents enjoyed reading, noted positive effect(s), and intended to read post-discharge.

Conclusion: We launched a well-received pilot ROR program in the NICU and reached our goal of ≥50% infants being read to by their parents. Further study is needed to assess the impact of reading in the NICU on parents and infants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Boston
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Health Education / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal / organization & administration*
  • Male
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Pilot Projects
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation
  • Quality Improvement*
  • Reading*