The research based Reading Together® programme has been running workshops since 1982. Developed to help parents and whānau support their children’s reading at home, the programme has been successfully implemented in schools around New Zealand.
The programme consists of four practical workshops, which run for one hour and 15 minutes over a period of seven weeks. Research has shown the programme to have a positive impact on children’s reading achievement and relationships between children, parents/whānau, teachers and librarians.
Reading Together® works alongside other class and school based literacy programmes such as summer reading to support students. Collaboration between the library team, school leaders, teachers, family/whānau, and local public library staff can help create and reinforce a reading culture within your school and wider community.
“A library should be like a pair of open arms”
Your school library can play an important role in supporting the Reading Together® programme. Together with the public library and the National Library, the school library forms an important triangle of support for students and their families.
If you are holding workshops in the school library, you might like to arrange for parents to borrow books for themselves and pre-schoolers, and liaise with Kōhanga Reo and early childhood centres. Talk with your local public library to arrange a visit for the Reading Together® participants and to get library borrowing cards.
When using the public library for workshops, the school library can provide ongoing support for participating families. This might include:
- helping parents learn how to choose “just right” books for their child
- helping children choose “just right” books
- opening the school library to families and arranging borrowing cards for families
- ensuring the library is a welcoming place. This is particularly important for family members who are not familiar with libraries.
In this brief video, School Librarian Liz Christensen from Ohaeawai School describes the integral role the school library plays in delivering the Reading Together® programme at their school.
National Library's Services to Schools offers support for schools to complement and sustain the Reading Together® programme.
Schools can request loans to support reading engagement, which could include support for Reading Together®.
This service is free with no charge for overdues or lost books.
Advisory support for your school library development
Please contact our advisory services if you would like to discuss how your school library can help deliver, sustain and support the Reading Together® programme, and / or your school-wide reading culture.
This may include the following aspects:
- showing how the library can support the development of a reading culture throughout the school community
- developing your library collection to meet the specific needs of your target students. For example high interest / low reading age material, specific topic areas, additional quantities of popular resources, different formats such as graphic novels
- creating a welcoming library environment in terms of displays, signage, guides and furniture to create an inviting atmosphere for families
- establishing user-friendly policies to enhance access, eg borrowing procedures and library opening hours
- exploring ways to strengthen community links, particularly with local public libraries, early childhood centres, and other agencies.
The Services to Schools website
You can find a range of information about creating and supporting readers along with resources for families and school staff on our site:
- Home School Partnerships
- Reading at Home offers encouragement and guidance for families about creating readers at home. This page includes a downloadable brochure, Help your child become a reader, available in English, Māori, Cook Island Māori, Samoan, Tongan, Niuean and Tokelauan.
Enjoying reading together at St Josephs Ōtāhuhu.
- The Biddulph Group’s Reading Together® website provides information and research from the programme, contact details and information on ordering resources. Reading Together® is a trademark from the Biddulph Group.
- Reading Together® project information on TKI
- Reading Together receives the thumbs up (Education Gazette)
- No silver bullets in education – but Reading Together is close! (Booksellers)
Image: Reading Together® Programme at St Josephs Ōtāhuhu School, used with permission