'No-one would sleep if we didn't have books': shared reading in families.

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Lancaster Literacy Research Centre are delighted to welcome Rachael Levy and Mel Hall to discuss shared reading in families.

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This Lancaster Literacy Research Centre event will be a talk from Rachael Levy and Mel Hall, titled 'No-one would sleep if we didn't have books'; understanding the motivators and barriers to shared reading practices in families .


We know that shared reading activity in the home supports young children’s language development, however we also recognise that not all families read with their children and that interventions to promote shared reading are often unsuccessful. In this presentation we argue that what is missing from many reading interventions is an understanding of what families already do and how shared reading activity fits within the construct of everyday family life. As a consequence, this session takes the position that if parents are to be widely supported in reading regularly with their children, then such intervention must stem from an exploration of what currently happens in homes, including gaining an understanding of why parents do and do not read with their children. Drawing on our recent ESRC-funded study into shared reading practices with 29 families in two English cities, this session demonstrates how for many families, shared reading is already a part of ‘doing family’. However for some families, and perhaps particularly those from low socio-economic groups, there is a need for certain conditions to be met if shared reading practices are to be maintained or, in some cases, occur at all. We argue that in order to support more families in reading regularly with their children, there is a need to firstly understand how different families use shared reading activity within their own individual and everyday family lives.

Event schedule:

10:00am - Welcomes & introductions (please enter the meeting with your 'real' name as your display name, and your camera switched on, to allow us to all put faces to each others' names)

10:05 - Presentation from Speaker Name(s) (please turn your camera off and mute your microphone during the presentation)

10:40 - Discussion (please use the raise hand feature on Teams to indicate you would like to have a turn speaking and once asked to speak by an event facilitator, please un-mute your microphone and turn your camera on)

Presenter bio:

Rachael Levy is an Associate Professor at UCL Institute of Education. Throughout her career Rachael has maintained an interest in young children’s reading, with a focus on issues of confidence and motivation. Her more recent research has explored the barriers and motivators for shared reading in homes. Rachael has published numerous journal articles and is the author of the book Young Children Reading at Home and at School.

Mel Hall is a Senior Lecturer in Childhood & Education Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University and a core member of the Educational and Social Research Institute. Mel’s research has been devoted to lived experiences of families and young people with a particular emphasis on how health and education are experienced throughout the life course.

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