New resource for practitioners to encourage parents to read with their children

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The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education has launched a new campaign to help practitioners and parents instil a love of reading and books in children before they start school.


The aim of Sharing Stories is to demonstrate the many ways practitioners and parents can encourage children to pick up a book from an early age.

As part of the campaign, the centre has created a training pack, including a DVD and accompanying booklet, for practitioners to use with children in their setting and to promote the scheme to parents.

The DVD, filmed in libraries, community settings and homes, shows families enjoying book sharing and participating in book-based activities, while the booklet outlines the key principles of how to enjoy reading in five different languages.

Julia Eccleshare, the creator of Sharing Stories, talked to Nursery World about the project.

How did you come up with Sharing Stories, and why?

Everyone knows that book ownership matters in terms of giving children a good start in literacy. But at CLPE we have always believed that a book alone can’t do all the work. Our work with families across Southwark showed us that many parents need a lot of encouragement and support to feel confident about book sharing.

The idea behind Sharing Stories was twofold. The first was to give parents an easy way of discovering the pleasure of book sharing through the visuals of a DVD and a highly illustrated booklet. To do this we chose the best advocates we know – other parents and their babies – who we filmed in our weekly Bookstart Plus sessions and in their own homes talking about how and why they share stories. Watching other parents experience – especially about maintaining home languages and English – is the perfect way to build confidence.

The second was that we wanted there to be a great many more places where new parents could find out about books.

We therefore put the Sharing Stories booklet with a supporting DVD, at the core of a toolkit, or training pack, that will give anyone working with new parents and pre-school children everything they need to inspire and inform parents about book sharing.

The hour-long training session, which includes showing the 15 minute DVD, is easy to deliver and will provide the necessary encouragement and support for parents when they enjoy the booklet and DVD in their own home.

What benefits will the campaign have for children and parents?

The campaign spreads the benefits of book sharing so that a much wider group of parents and children can enjoy it. Not everyone has the confidence to join a group, especially if English is not their first language, but everyone feels safe finding things out at home. Watching the video or reading the booklet – which comes in five languages – will inspire parents with greater confidence both in choosing books and in ways of encouraging their children to join in.

How does the training pack work?

The training pack gives a professional a clear outline of how to run a book sharing session. It makes suggestions about gathering and displaying books for a session, setting the film in a context, leading a discussion after watching the film and handing out the booklets and DVDs.
How can readers get hold of the training pack?

Training packs and accompanying sets of the booklet and DVD for parents in multiples of ten can be bought directly from the CLPE website in the New Year.

Further information

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