RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — February 5 is ‘World Read Aloud Day,’ and for the last 11 years, the movement has been challenging participants to grab a book, find an audience, and read aloud. To pediatric patients in Chippenham Hospital, however, it is a chance to break the repetitiveness of their lengthy stays.
The global effort is already being celebrated in over 173 countries. In Richmond, it gives volunteers a chance to donate new books to children who could put them to good use.
Mackenzie Sparks, a new mother of a baby boy, spent multiple weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Chippenham with her newborn. She says breaks from a normal day like this really help.
“We have been here so long that everyone has become like a second family,” Sparks said. “It gets so monotonous when you are here, especially more than one day. For people to take their time to read or even to say hello it makes such a big difference.”
8News was able to read a book to baby Bodhi, who stared on with bright blue eyes to confirm he was listening intently.
“Even little babies, you think they don’t understand,” Sparks said. “His two-year-old sister at home, she is obsessed with books. We started reading to her from the moment she was born.”
“I hope he gets well enough to come home, and we just want him to come home and stay home.”-Mackenzie Sparks
Moral of the story: You never know who you can help by reading a good book.