Reading Together programme

Reading Together Programme workshop St Jospehs Otahuhu.

All rights reserved

The Reading Together® programme helps parents and whānau support their children’s reading more effectively at home. The National Library can provide extra books, and professional advice and support to help the programme succeed in your school.

How the Reading Together® programme works

The Reading Together® Te Pānui Ngātahi programme aims to teach parents and whānau how to read to, and talk with, their children in ways that build a love of reading and build a strong language and literacy foundation. The programme involves a series of 75-minute workshops that teach simple strategies for making reading time a pleasure rather than one of anxiety, stress and, sometimes, anger.

Research shows that the programme has a positive impact on both children’s reading achievement and relationships between children, parents, whānau, teachers, and librarians.

Reading Together — information and research about Reading Together® from the Biddulph Group who own the Reading Together trademark.

Reading Together® programmes — on the Te Kete Ipurangi (TKI) website.

Videos about schools who have used the programme

Manurewa Central School and St Joseph's School in Otahuhu have successfully used the Reading Together® programme. Videos of their experiences explain how Reading Together® can:

  • build trust
  • enhance relationships
  • support children by supporting parents
  • increase access to reading, and
  • counter harm.

Watch the videos

Learning centred relationships: Reading together — another video about Manurewa Central School's experience.

How National Library can support you

The National Library’s initiative supports parents and schools in the most effective way possible. Our parents were delighted to choose extra books to take home after each meeting and were most appreciative of this new strand of support.
— St. Joseph’s Otahuhu

We can provide books

Schools can request a Reading Together® programme loan to support the programme in their school. This loan is separate and additional to any other school loans you may have from us through our lending service. The programme loans are free, with no charge for overdue or lost books. Reading Together loans are issued for 1 term.

Phone 0800 LIB LINE (0800 542 5463) to request a loan. You'll need to tell us:

  • how many families and children are participating
  • the year levels of the children
  • their reading ages
  • if the families have any particular interests.

More about our school lending service

We can offer professional advice and support

Contact our Capability Facilitators on 0800 LIB LINE (0800 542 5463) if you would like some advice about supporting the Reading Together® programme in your school library.

Our facilitators can also:

  • show how the school library can help develop a reading culture in your school community
  • help you establish user-friendly policies (such as borrowing procedures and library opening hours) to encourage your community to use your library
  • help you develop your library collection to meet the specific needs of your target students
  • show you how to use displays, signage, guides, furniture, and resources to create a welcoming, family-friendly library environment for parents and whānau
  • help you explore ways to strengthen community links, particularly with local public libraries, early childhood centres, and other agencies.

Resources and support on our website

Reading at home — encouragement and guidance for families about creating readers at home. Download the brochure Help your child become a reader, available in English, Māori, Cook Island Māori, Samoan, Tongan, Niuean, and Tokelauan.

A school-wide reading culture

Home-school reading partnerships

Reading Together® in your school and community

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 helps create and reinforce a reading culture within your school and the wider community.

Your school library supporting Reading Together®

A library should be like a pair of open arms.
— Roger Rosenblatt

Your school library can play an important role in supporting the Reading Together® programme. Your library, together with the public library and the National Library, form a triangle of reading support for students and their families.

If you are going to hold Reading Together® workshops in your school library, you might like to arrange for parents to borrow books for themselves and preschoolers before or after the workshops. You could also liaise with Kōhanga Reo and early childhood centres to make it for easier families or whānau to access books they need.

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.

Embedded content:

Collaborating with the public library

It’s a good idea to liaise with your local library early on to arrange a visit and library borrowing cards for your Reading Together® participants.

If the Reading Together® workshops are being held at the public library, your school library can support participating families by:

  • showing parents how to guide students to choose books for reading for pleasure
  • opening the school library and arrange borrowing cards for families
  • ensuring your library is a welcoming place — particularly important for family members who aren't familiar with libraries.

Take a community approach to summer reading