Reads and Rhymes Together - Creating Communities of Readers in CHI

Reads and Rhymes Together is a Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) wide initiative in partnership with Children’s Books Ireland, which seeks to create communities of readers in CHI. We know that parent and guardian-led reading in hospital forms important connections in simple but meaningful ways, and together, we want to inspire a culture of reading for joy across the paediatric healthcare setting, encouraging patients and families to spend time together within the pages of a book.

Reads and Rhymes Together

About Reads and Rhymes Together 

This partnership project aims to create communities of readers aged between 0 and 16, and their families across Children’s Health Ireland’s acute hospitals in Crumlin, Tallaght and Temple Street and at Out Patient Departments (OPD) & Urgent Care Centre (UCC) / Emergency Care Units (ECU) at Connolly Hospital and Tallaght Hospital.

The project draws upon external research (by Sarah Bakke, BSN RNC-NIC, of Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children)  into Language Nutrition in NICU wards and Baby Bookworm projects outside of Ireland. Pooling the resources and expertise from Children’s Books Ireland regarding books and reading, and Children’s Health Ireland at Crumlin Nursing and Arts Team regarding childcare this programme seeks to help relieve stress and bring comfort to those in hospital through books and storytelling.

What does this project involve? 

During this programme, Children’s Books Ireland will gift books to patients in CHI at regular intervals throughout the year, organise author and illustrator led visits and workshops all while focusing on promoting a love of reading for joy.

This year, in conjunction with CHI, Children’s Books Ireland will be:

  • Providing patients across participating CHI sites with the gift of a book to keep
  • Encouraging and promoting reading as an everyday part of the creative culture in CHI
  • Arranging artist led visits, bringing patients and their families together in joyful and creative ways.

About the CHI and Children's Books Ireland project

In 2022, this book-gifting initiative was first introduced as the Little Reads and Rhymes as it focused primarily on gifting books to children in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit in Crumlin, providing comfort to children and their families at a very difficult time. The initiative was inspired by children’s author and poet Deirdre Sullivan, who recognised a gap in promoting closeness with children while in PICU. With the support of CHI, Children’s Books Ireland provided books and sensory packs tailored for patients and their families. The shared reading experience forged connections and brought comfort for each parent, guardian and carer involved, as well as the patient. In 2023, the initiative was then extended across the hospital, to include the Children’s Heart Centre, the Transitional Care Unit and the Neonatal ward and books were also provided to Play Departments in CHI at Tallaght, and Temple Street.

'... books can open windows to the world outside, to brighter, better times, forests, cars and dogs and sandy beaches, you are the magic spell in all of this. '

- Author and poet, Deirdre Sullivan


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