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The Reading Together Programme is a research-based workshop programme for teachers, parents and children. It helps parents to support their children's reading at home more effectively. The programme, which was developed by Jeanne Biddulph in 1982 as an action-research project at the University of Canterbury, has been successfully implemented by teachers throughout New Zealand.
Reading Together provides effective support for all children and their parents/whānau i.e.
- children who are struggling with reading
- children who are reluctant readers
- children who are competent readers
- children from junior primary to junior secondary school
- children and parents from diverse language/literacy, cultural, educational and socio-economic backgrounds
The workshop programme builds constructive relationships between parents and teachers/principals, parents and parents, parents and children, and parents and community librarians.
Reading Together has proven to be a cost-effective intervention to support parents in assisting their children with reading.
Robinson, Hohepa, and Lloyd, 2009, page 162
Evidence of effectiveness
Key findings from research studies of the implementation of the Reading Together™ Programme include:
- statistically significant and sustained gains in students’ levels of reading comprehension over time
- positive and constructive changes in parents’ relationships with their children
- positive shifts in children’s independent reading
- enhanced relationships between teachers, principals and parents
- improved confidence and greater independence of children and parents/whānau (including their use of community libraries).
The Reading Together resources, which schools can order from the Reading Together website, include:
- Reading Together: Workshop Leader’s Handbook – a comprehensive handbook that (i) outlines the background to the programme, (ii) summarises its research and theoretical basis, (iii) describes processes for setting up the workshops, engaging whānau and implementing the workshops, and (iv) suggests processes for gathering feedback and reporting on the programme.
- Reading Together: Suggestions for Helping Children with Reading at Home – a booklet for parents and whānau.
- Brock: A ‘reading book’ for adults – a booklet that helps adults gain some understanding of what children experience as they are learning to read.
- A set of jokes and riddles – to promote enjoyment of and engagement in reading.
- A set of 'Traffic Light' Bookmarks.
The Reading Together™ Programme comprises 4 workshops over 7 weeks, with each workshop lasting 1 hour and 15 minutes. Workshops are run by interested teachers, and are held at times which suit them and the parents involved.
Workshop 1: How to help with reading at home, including:
- suggestions for helping (explanation, demonstration and discussion)
- using libraries (support and resources).
Workshop 2: How to check the difficulty level of reading materials, including:
- finding and using the right material with your child
- helping your child to read suitable material (Children attend this workshop).
Workshop 3: How to help children overcome problems in their reading, including:
- ideas about how we read and what helps us to read
- more suggestions for helping children.
Workshop 4: Sharing more ideas about reading, giving feedback and looking ahead
The Reading Together™ website also provides ordering information.