Reading Well for children provides quality-assured information, stories and advice to support children's mental health and wellbeing.
Books have been chosen and recommended by leading health professionals, librarians, children and families.
How it works
Health and social care professionals, teachers and anyone else offering support to children and families can use the scheme to recommend helpful reading.
People can also self-refer to the scheme via the booklist. The books will be available on the open shelves of the local public library for anyone to borrow.
The booklist of 33 titles covers topics relevant to the children of today, including grief, anxiety, bullying and staying safe online.
In recognition of the potential impact of living with diagnosed conditions and physical disabilities, the booklist explores living well with conditions including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), dyslexia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and physical disabilities.
The scheme is targeted at children in Key Stage 2 and includes titles suitable for a wide range of reading levels to support less confident readers, and to encourage children to read together with their siblings and carers.
if you've read a Reading Well book, tell us what you think or add it to our BookSorter.
We worked with health professionals, and children with experience of the topics covered and their families and carers. The book selection panel included experts from public libraries, NHS England, Mind, the Royal College of GPs and the School Library Association.
You can download our book selection protocol for more information on the process.
Reading Well for children booklist responds to the need for mental health and wellbeing support for children and families.
- One in eight (12.8%) 5 to 19 year olds had at least one mental health condition when assessed in 2017.
- In 2018, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health reported that schools were on average making 183 Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) referrals every school day, with 56% of those referrals coming from primary schools.
Can reading help?
Evaluation has shown that bibliotherapy is cost effective, elicits a positive response from people, improves self-management and results in better person - doctor relationships.
Reading Well collections can support people with quality-assured, evidence-based resources outside of clinical settings, or while they await treatment. In our last evaluation, 90% of people found their book helpful.
BookTrust have reported that 2 in 5 (39%) children aged 8-11 said they find it difficult to talk about their feelings or emotions, but 9 in 10 of parents (90%) aged 4-11 do agree that reading together is a useful tool to help open up conversations with their child, however almost 70% stopped reading to their children by the time they started at Key Stage 2 (7 years old).
There are four other Reading Well booklists available: Reading Well for mental health, Reading Well for young people, Reading Well for dementia and Reading Well for long term conditions.
Reading Well booklists are available in 99% of English and 100% of Welsh public library authorities.
Download our delivery model for a guide to running Reading Well in your library.
Schools, colleges, universities, health libraries and health professionals can also get involved with the scheme. Click the relevant link below for more information on how to sign up to deliver Reading Well in your setting:
You can also get in touch with your local library authority health lead as public libraries are always looking for ways to promote the scheme, and can share promotional material, leaflets, and posters for the scheme with local organisations. It's worth contacting these local library contacts, or the local library in your area, and discussing ways you can work together to promote and deliver the scheme. If you'd like to be put in touch with someone from your local library service, email firstname.lastname@example.org.