Dr. John S. Hutton, MD MS FAAP, is an Associate Professor in the Division of General and Community Pediatrics at UT Southwestern Medical Center and an attending physician at Children's Medical Center, Dallas. He is also an adjunct Associate Professor of General and Community Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Originally from Kentucky, Dr. Hutton spent formative years in San Antonio before his family moved to the Midwest, and is thrilled to be back in Texas. He is a primary care pediatrician.

In addition to over 50 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals, Dr. Hutton has published over 40 children’s books, many with health-promoting themes, including safe sleep, infant calming, breastfeeding, dialogic reading and limiting digital media use (screen time), several of these found effective in clinical trials. He is also collaborating in a series of picture books introducing organ systems beginning with the heart and brain, including related pediatric conditions and how children can stay healthy. Inspiring and informing this work is his experience owning and operating an award-winning, independent children's bookstore (Blue Manatee) for almost 20 years.

Dr. Hutton is “spokes-doctor” for the Read Aloud 15 MINUTES national campaign, on the national Medical Advisory Board and Research Steering Committee of Reach Out and Read, works closely with the Children and Screens Institute of Digital Media, and a co-author (neuroscience lead) of forthcoming American Academy of Pediatrics Literacy Promotion Guidelines. His work has been funded by philanthropy, foundations and the National Institutes of Health. 

With his team, Dr. Hutton has published the first studies in the world using MRI to quantify relationships between home reading and digital media environments on brain structure and function in preschool-age children. He has also developed and validated measures of emergent literacy (The Reading House) and numeracy (The Number Farm) skills, shared reading quality (DialogPR, SharePR) and digital media use (ScreenQ). He is testing innovative approaches to empowering reading and screen-related guidance for families, including the SHARE/STEP approach to reading with infants, community-based training, specially designed children’s books, animated videos and free mobile app. 

His scientific publications can be accessed via


Medical School
(1998), Medicine

Research Interest

  • Digital media use during early childhood
  • Emergent literacy development
  • Emergent numeracy development
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging and early brain development
  • Pediatric health literacy promotion
  • Promoting interactive reading beginning in infancy
  • Reading and literacy promotion during pediatric primary care


Beliefs and Motivations Regarding Early Shared Reading of Parents From Low-Income Households: A Qualitative Study
Crosh CC, Sherman SN, Valley JE, Parsons A, Gentry A, Glusman M, Hutton JS, Copeland KA Academic Pediatrics 2024 Apr 24 486-493
Digital Media and Developing Brains: Concerns and Opportunities
Hutton JS, Piotrowski JT, Bagot K, Blumberg F, Canli T, Chein J, Christakis DA, Grafman J, Griffin JA, Hummer T, Kuss DJ, Lerner M, Marcovitch S, Paulus MP, Perlman G, Romeo R, Thomason ME, Turel O, Weinstein A, West G, Pietra PH, Potenza MN Current Addiction Reports 2024 Apr 11 287-298
A greater modulation of the visual and fronto-parietal networks for children in a post-media versus pre-media exposure group
Farah R, Shchupak G, Holland S, Hutton J, Dudley J, DiFrancesco M, Altaye M, Horowitz-Kraus T Acta Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics 2024
Maternal education as an environmental factor related to reading in children with reading difficulties: A functional magnetic resonance imaging study
Greenwood P, Hutton J, Dudley J, DiFrancesco M, Farah R, Altaye M, Horowitz-Kraus T Dyslexia 2023 Aug 29 217-234
Neuroimaging of brain connectivity related to reading outcomes in children born preterm: A critical narrative review
Kelly KJ, Hutton JS, Parikh NA, Barnes-Davis ME Frontiers in Pediatrics 2023 Mar 11
Shared reading with infants: SharePR a novel measure of shared reading quality
Hutton JS, Huang G, Crosh C, DeWitt T, Ittenbach RF Pediatric Research 2023 Mar 93 976-984
Executive functions abilities in preschool-age children are negatively related to parental EF, screen-time and positively related to home literacy environment: an EEG study
Horowitz-Kraus T, Fotang J, Niv L, Apter A, Hutton J, Farah R Child Neuropsychology 2023
Higher access to screens is related to decreased functional connectivity between neural networks associated with basic attention skills and cognitive control in children
Meri R, Hutton J, Farah R, DiFrancesco M, Gozman L, Horowitz-Kraus T Child Neuropsychology 2023 29 666-685
Associations between digital media use and brain surface structural measures in preschool-aged children
Hutton JS, Dudley J, DeWitt T, Horowitz-Kraus T Scientific reports 2022 Dec 12
Chronic pediatric diseases and risk for reading difficulties: a narrative review with recommendations
Perazzo D, Moore R, Kasparian NA, Rodts M, Horowitz-Kraus T, Crosby L, Turpin B, Beck AF, Hutton J Pediatric Research 2022 Oct 92 966-978


Featured Books Legend Featured Books

Baby Unplugged: Ball


Gritty Kitty

(2019). blue manatee press

Baby Unplugged: Make

(2021). blue manatee press

The Number Farm

(2024). blue manatee press

Bookworm Buddies A-Z

(2024). blue manatee press

Léeme te Escucho (Baby Bookworm)

(2022). blue manatee press

Duerme Bebe' Comodo y Seguro

(2013). blue manatee press

Honors & Awards

  • Independent Press Award
    "Billie the Brain," children's picture book, non-fiction category. (2024)
  • Mission Innovation Award
    "Hank the Heart," a character-based approach to health literacy for children with congenital heart differences. Cincinnati Childrens Innovation Ventures and Cincinnati Childrens Research Foundation. (2024)
  • Featured Research: Annual Report
    Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (MRI and screen time). (2022)
  • Early Career Investigator (ECI) Award
    Pediatric Research (journal) (2020)
  • Featured Research: Annual Report
    Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (MRI and screen time) (2020)
  • Most Talked About Articles of 2020
    JAMA Pediatrics (journal; MRI and screen time) (2020)
  • The Most Popular Stories of 2020
    The American Academy of Pediatrics Daily Briefing (MRI and reading) (2020)
  • Top Downloaded Paper 2018-2019
    Journal: Acta Paediatrica. MRI and reading. (2020)
  • Ohioana Cooper Award
    Honoring outstanding contribution to books and reading. The Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County. (2018)
  • Benjamin Franklin Award Gold Medal
    Independent Book Publishers Association (2017)
  • Finalist, Women's National Book Association Pannell Award
    Best children's specialty bookstore in the US: Blue Manatee Children's Bookstore (owner). (2017)
  • Overall Winner, Region V Abstract Competition
    Academic Pediatric Association (2016)
  • Procter Scholar Award
    Cincinnati Children's Research Foundation (2016)
  • Thrasher Research Fund Early Career Award
    MRI and reading (2016)
  • APA Research Award: Best Abstract by a Fellow
    Academic Pediatric Association (2015)
  • Arnold W. Strauss Fellow Award
    Cincinnati Children's Research Foundation (2015)
  • Featured Research: Annual Report
    Division of General and Community Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (MRI and reading) (2015)
  • Healthcare Heroes Award: Innovator
    Children's book for safe sleep promotion. Cincinnati Business Courier (2015)
  • Overall Winner, Region V Abstract Competition
    Academic Pediatric Association (2015)
  • Academic Pediatric Association Young Investigator Award
    Primary Care Strategies for the Promotion of Early Literacy and School Readiness (2013)
  • Safe Sleep Ambassador
    Charlie's Kids Foundation (2013)
  • Best Bookstore
    Blue Manatee Children's Bookstore (owner). Cincinnati City Beat Magazine. (2005-2017)
  • Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • Academic Pediatric Association
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American Board of Pediatrics
  • Texas Pediatric Society