1st Edition

Family Literacies Reading with Young Children

By Rachael Levy, Mel Hall Copyright 2021
    178 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    178 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Family Literacies demonstrates, through reference to empirical research, how shared reading practices operate in a wide range of families, with a view to supporting families in reading with their pre-school children. At the heart of this book, written by two highly experienced experts in the field, is a fascinating project that captured diverse voices, and experiences by parents, children and other family members. 

    Rachael Levy and Mel Hall deploy a rich and distinctive theoretical framework, drawing on insights from literacy studies, education and sociology. Family Literacies presents an account of shared reading practices in homes, focusing attention on what motivates parents to read with their children as well as revealing what parents may need if they are to begin and sustain shared reading activity. The authors show the many ways in which reading is centrally embedded in many aspects of family life, arguing that this has particular implications for children as they start school. Situated within a socio-cultural discourse, this book explains why it is important to understand how and why shared reading takes place in homes so that all families can be supported in reading with their children.

    Family Literacies is essential reading for all those who are studying and researching literacy practices, especially those involving young children. The book will also be of value to students, practitioners and researchers in education and applied linguistics who are working with families and have an interest in the study of family practices. The authors’ findings have major implications for how parents can be encouraged to develop positive reading relationships with their children.

    List of illustrations


    1 Reading with young children: an introduction

    2 Sociological perspectives on reading

    3 Shared reading practices

    4 Researching family lives

    5 Shared reading as an everyday family practice

    6 Doing and sustaining shared reading; parents’ aims and motivations

    7 Barriers to shared reading

    8 Parents’ relationships with reading and links with shared reading practices

    9 Working with families to promote shared reading

    10 Shared reading and starting school – a conclusion




    Rachael Levy is Associate Professor at UCL Institute of Education. She has published widely in the field of young children’s reading and is the author of Young Children Reading at Home and at School. She has worked closely with the United Kingdom Literacy Association and was editor for their Minibook series for 8 years.

    Mel Hall is a Senior Lecturer in Childhood and Education Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University. Mel’s research has been devoted to lived experiences of young people and families, with a particular emphasis on how health and education are conceptualised in the context of the life course.



    This book provides educators and practitioners a sense of the multifaceted character of parents and children’s enjoyment of shared reading practices in diverse families. This new research offers genuinely innovative insights into children and families’ reading practices in the home. This book should be welcomed by all those who care about children’s literacy and language practices in home and community settings.

    Kate Pahl, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK