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I’m a governor at a large primary school, in an area of high deprivation. We are trying to improve the quality (not quantity) of reading at home that children do with parents/carers – specifically Y5 boys who are poor readers. Have you seen any good leaflets/videos that we could use to support parents learning new tools/techniques/games etc to make reading more fun, engaging, check comprehension, extend vocabulary, learn grammar etc? We’ve tried offering sessions for parents/carers to come in and see teachers/teaching assistants reading with children, but had no takers!

This is an excellent question, though I’m sorry to say that after much discussion with a number of librarians, teachers and booksellers I have not been able to source the material you ask for. Some of the suggestions I received included contacting the National Literacy Trust and Booktrust. Both organizations are dedicated to improving literacy in Britain, and have material you can download, though it is not dedicated to your specific purpose. A number of authors also have amazing websites. For this age group, you might look at www.jeremystrong.co.uk, and www.mrgum.co.uk.

I rather agree with one bookseller I spoke to who was of the opinion that if the parents you are trying to target weren’t interested in attending your dedicated sessions, they may be even less likely to use leaflets or videos. Do you ever have authors visit your school? I wonder if this might be an avenue worth exploring. A lot of authors regularly visit schools to talk to classes, but there’s no reason they couldn’t address children and parents together. Handled properly, it could be a fun and inspiring event, and an opportunity to fire enthusiasm for reading as a family. Then you could maybe use this as a springboard for your sessions with teachers and teaching assistants.