School of Education

Exploring the value of family shared reading with young people who have profound and multiple learning disabilities

This new article from Dr Lauren Doak has been published in the Journal of Early Childhood Literacy.


Shared reading with young children is promoted as good practice in national and international policy. Existing literature explores cognitive and developmental benefits of family shared reading for young, typically developing children, but much less is known about benefits for young people with learning disabilities. Additionally, the analysis of ‘benefit’ is often cast in economic terms to society rather than through the sociological lens of everyday ‘family practice’. This paper explores the significance of shared reading for two young people with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD), a group traditionally characterised as having a developmental age of 24 months or less and who may therefore continue to enjoy shared reading far beyond early childhood. Drawing on iterative qualitative data analysis of semi-structured interviews with two mothers, findings suggest that shared reading is a valued everyday practice fulfilling a range of functions such as emotional regulation, marking time and routine, and inclusion with siblings. The paper considers ways to support shared reading within PMLD families in research, policy and practice.

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Posted on Wednesday 21st February 2024

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