Children's Early Intervention Trust
Parenting for Lifelong Health (Book sharing programme)

Parenting for Lifelong Health (Book sharing programme)

A programme to help parents and caregivers of children aged 3-5 years promote child literacy, socio-emotional development and school readiness

Parenting for Lifelong Health (PLH) is a suite of parenting programmes developed in conjunction with the World Health Organisation, see WHO Parenting for Lifelong Health. These programmes were designed for low resource settings and aim to deliver evidence-based programmes which have open access and are not for profit. The key goal is to prevent child maltreatment through training parents that has been shown to be effective through improving parent-child relationships, child attachment security and child development, reducing family mental health distress amongst other benefits.

The book sharing programme, initially created by Professors Peter Cooper and Lynne Murray is a PLH programme and is disseminated through the Mikhulu Trust. Dialogic book-sharing has been shown to be helpful to child development, particularly language development, as demonstrated with children of socioeconomically disadvantaged parents in South Africa who are less likely to undertake shared reading of books with children or use dialogic techniques. The programme coaches parents to use picture books to support children’s language and socio-emotional development through engaging the child’s interest and supporting reciprocal interactions.

Although developed initially for delivery in South Africa it is now delivered more widely and was adapted for a UK trial in reading for parents of 3 – 4 year olds. After research trials demonstrated its effectiveness, it has been endorsed by the World Health Organisation and adopted into its suite of Parenting for Lifelong Health programmes. CEIT supported CEBEI to deliver and evaluate the programme in Wales in 2017 (see newsletters for ongoing trials and below for published research). A web-based version known as Books Together is under development and being researched. For more information on the book sharing programme, see our book sharing booklet.

Frequently asked questions about the programme

Who is the Book Sharing programme for?

Parents or carers of children aged between 3 and 5 years

How is the Book Sharing programme delivered?

The programme is a seven session, weekly intervention for groups of four to six parents and caregivers. It is ideal to help develop school readiness.

Who can train to deliver this programme?

Early years practitioners, school-based staff and parents can all be trained to deliver the programme.

What does the practitioner training involve?

The training is a two-day course that covers the core progamme and books.

Each week focuses on a different picture book, with the first three sessions covering academic coaching and hte last four, social/emotional coaching.

What support and resources are available?

There is a manual, parent resources and video clips of parent’s book sharing, that are used to promote group discussions. Each parent will require a copy of the weekly book to practice reading at home with their child.

If you would like to discuss the programme in more detail, contact us

Book our training courses, through our online booking pages


Research is both currently ongoing and in the process of being published.