Evaluating the Books Together intervention delivered through the Aura Wales library service – MRes Scholarship


Evaluating the Books Together intervention delivered through the Aura Wales library service

Centre for Evidence Based Early Intervention, Bangor University

Project ID: BUK2E077
Annual Stipend: £11,702
Application Deadline: 15th July 2022

Growing numbers of children are entering school with additional learning needs, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Approximately a third of children are not reaching their developmental milestones for language, social, emotional, and physical skills and are consequently not reaching their full academic potential. The ongoing covid pandemic has further exacerbated this trend with children entering school needing more support than in previous years, particularly for language and communication skills. Language development is of utmost importance as levels of vocabulary at age 2 predict later performance at school entry and beyond.

Dialogic book-sharing is a well-established intervention targeting children’s language development. The intervention teaches parents effective techniques to support children’s language production and comprehension using picture books in a way that sensitively follows and supports the child’s interests and actively engages them in reciprocal interactions. In Wales, a small pilot study with school support staff in five schools across north Wales showed promising results in terms of improvements in children’s language, social-emotional skills, and parental competence. The programme was well-received by parents and school staff. The Books Together programme is an adaptation of the same intervention containing newly filmed clips and consists of seven sessions delivered to parents of young children aged 2-5 years. The weekly topics include building and enriching language, linking content to the child’s experience, numbers and comparisons, feelings, intentions, perspectives, and relationships.

Libraries are an important part of communities; they provide access to books as well as digital services to all. Many also provide additional activities for families and children such as storytelling and rhyming sessions. The Aura Wales library service in Flintshire work in partnership with the BookTrust to deliver the Bookstart scheme which introduces children under 5 years to books and supports parents in the practice of sharing stories. This makes them an ideal location for delivering a book-sharing intervention to parents.

The purpose of this project is to evaluate the Books Together programme as an intervention delivered by library staff to parents of children aged 2-5 years. It will explore the feasibility of this new delivery method with library staff at the Aura Wales library service in Flintshire. The acceptability of the adapted programme will be explored using semi-structured interviews as well as examining pre-post changes in child and parent outcomes.


1) The student will review and report on the existing evidence of book-sharing interventions delivered in real-world services.
2) The student will explore the feasibility of delivering the Books Together programme through library services including collecting pre-post measures from parents and children, and interviews with parents and staff.

For further information on this project, please contact Dr Margiad Williams (margiad.williams@bangor.ac.uk) or Professor Judy Hutchings (j.hutchings@bangor.ac.uk). Expected start date of 1st October 2022.

To apply for this studentship, please e-mail a CV and a covering letter to    margiad.williams@bangor.ac.uk and cc to Penny Dowdney p.j.dowdney@bangor.ac.uk. The closing date for applications is 15th July 2022.

KESS 2 East is a pan-Wales higher level skills initiative led by Bangor University on behalf of the HE sector in Wales. It is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for East Wales.

Due to ESF funding, eligibility restrictions apply to this scholarship. To be eligible, the successful candidate will need to be resident in East Wales on University registration, and must have the right to work in the region on qualification.