Barrington Stoke is an award-winning children’s publisher set up in 1998 with a mission to help emergent, reluctant and dyslexic readers unlock a love of reading. Our quality short fiction, by the best authors and illustrators in the UK, is crammed with ingenious design and editorial tricks to ensure an accessible and enjoyable read for all, and a great quick read for more confident kids.
How we do it
- We publish household name authors because we believe that all children deserve the best stories regardless of reading level
- We keep books short and punchy with lots of chapter breaks to tackle short attention spans and reward readers
- Our tinted paper, super readable font and friendly layouts offer a smoother read for everyone including young people with dyslexia and reading problems
- Our careful editing makes age appropriate stories available to less confident readers
- We make sure all our covers have wow appeal so they are pick-upable and do not look or feel like school books
Got a reluctant reader at home? You are not alone…
Studies show that around one in three children don’t enjoy reading. Both girls and boys can be reluctant to read, although until recently most support focused on boys. There are many reasons a child may be reluctant to read:
• A home with no books or reading. If kids don’t see adults read, they don’t have positive reinforcement of the value of reading. Kids whose parents don’t read to them may find it harder to learn to read. This reinforces the idea that reading isn’t fun.
• A lack of reading role-models. Boys in particular may never have seen an adult of their own gender reading.
• Disenchantment with ‘beginner’ books. Children with no book culture at home may not associate reading with story and pleasure. If they are limited to ‘at-level’ texts (e.g. reading schemes) in school, they may give up.
• Unidentified reading issues. Reluctant readers often struggle to read, because they haven’t built up enough experience to do it with ease. Sometimes, though, there’s an issue like dyslexia and a child avoids reading so as to hide it.
• Competition from other media. Immature and inexperienced readers have to ‘work’ at books while games consoles etc offer instant gratification.
• Book selection may be wrong. We often value ‘big books’ more than short ones and obsess over ‘progression’ and ‘quality’, meaning that children don’t get to pick what they want to read. Children’s books are also still quite white, middle-class and middle England, and so some kids may feel shut out.
How grown-ups can help
- It doesn’t always help to tackle a reluctant reader ‘head on’ – in fact, this may compound the problem. Instead, let them see you reading, talk about what you have read and make accessible, appropriate books easily available. Don’t judge their reading choices, and don’t forget that match reports, comics, graphic novels, magazines and so on are ‘reading’ too.
- Reading aloud is not just for the under fives! Reading to children boosts memory vocabulary and listening skills. There’s no right age to stop!
- To establish whether a text is at the right reading level ask the child to cover all the words they can’t read on one page with a finger. Not enough fingers? Too difficult.