Ideas to help parents and carers diversify their children’s reading

Diversifying Reading Project in association with Lit in Colour

Schools who took part in our Diversifying Reading Project told us that getting parents on board is a key part of their efforts to diversify reading, but in our 2021 survey, just 36% of parents and carers said it was easy for them to find a representative range of books for their child. The research findings, which you can read here, made it clear that parents and carers need more support to find inclusive books.  

Here are a few things that might help you support them: 

Ensure that the books you send home reflect different diversities 

Perhaps an audit of resources might help you to see any gaps in your provision? For a ready-made diversity book auditing tool download the Lit in Colour auditing tool for primary schools. 

Make sure parents are aware of their local library  

Libraries are a great place for families to get access to diverse and inclusive books affordably.  

If you’d like to share more information on library accessibility with them, Libraries Connected has lots of useful material. 

Reflect on how your school might be perceived by parents and carers 

Are book and work displays diverse and inclusive? Are newsletters and any other regular communications home representative of a diverse and inclusive curriculum?  

Ensure you model a selection of diverse books  

If you are planning a session for parents and carers about the importance of reading, this is the perfect time to model a selection of diverse books to inspire them as they choose books for their child. 

Find more support to help you talk to parents about the case for diverse and inclusive reading in the free Oxford Getting Started Guide

You might also want to share Ebony Lyon’s practical tips and reading recommendations for families to help them find some affordable tips, sources of books and book recommendations.

Further reading  

  • The FREE Diversifying Reading Toolkit from Oxford has a range of resources to support you, including a Getting Started Guide to help you structure a successful staff discussion, a series of expert podcasts, and reading lists for all year groups with supporting teaching notes.  
  • Explore the positive effect that inclusive books can have on reading  for pleasure and get recommendations in the findings from our Diversifying Reading Project. 
  • Read the Lit in Colour research report: Diversity in Literature in English Schools. 
  • Read the latest Reflecting Realities Report from the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE), an eye-opening survey of Ethnic Representation in UK Children’s Literature.