Reading Pathways

4Reading Pathway books collections #ReadingPathways

– supporting children’s reading for pleasure through fun connected book collections
What are Reading Pathway Book Collections?
  • They put a number of high quality picture book authors and illustrators at the heart of mini themed displays
  • They are based on the assumption that you decide in advance you are going to show themed collections to the same group of children over a period of time (e.g. across year 1 to 2 or year 2 to 3). If you carefully select the authors and the illustrators at the beginning then the same authors and illustrators can reappear in future themes.
  • The themes are designed to be fun and ‘wacky’, and combine ‘familiar things’ in new ways e.g giants, monsters and cakes, dogs, dinosaurs and detectives, dragons and treasure. These themes allow for multiple pathways for children to explore their interests, whilst also providing common ground for them to share their discoveries with their classmates. 
  • The illustrators are given as high a profile as the authors, as for some children their route to finding their next read, whether it is a picture book or a chapter book might be through an illustrator they know and love and not an author. 
  • They focus on year 1, year 2 and year 3, but many of the books could be enjoyed by other years too.

About the Books

  • Many of the books are ones that appeal to children of different ages. Some of the books are ones my children (3 years apart) both enjoyed and others are ones that my customers have said their children or grandchildren loved. They are great for sharing in a classroom but are also great bedtime reads, for parents to read to siblings of different ages. 
  • Despite the quality of these authors and illustrators. I have not seen any picture books illustrated by Steve Lenton or written by Elli Woolard at any pop-up bookshops at reading conferences I have attended in the past two years, nor have I seen them on display in any bookshops. Sara Ogilvie (illustrator) and Lucy Rowland (author) seem to be a little more known, but I have only seen odd one of their books and have never seen a collection of them together.  I am a big fan of picture books so regularly browse the ones in our local library and I rarely see any of these authors or illustrators. 
  • A number of the stories challenge children’s perceptions or stereotypes in some way. Sometimes this is subtle and sometimes this is more obvious. 
Reading Journeys and Reading for Pleasure – laying the foundations for future success

I passionately believe every child should have the opportunity to love stories and reading. However, the process of finding books you really want to read as a newly independent reader is more complex than it seems. Neither of my children have found this process easy and yet both their current teachers would tell you they are ‘able readers’ and that they ‘love books’. The idea for reading pathways is founded on one key realisation:

Through observing my children’s reading journeys and multiple conversations with many others including parents, teachers, teaching assistants and librarians over a 4 year period I have come to the view that:

It is the majority of children, not the minority that at key points (so more than once) have difficulties moving from one author to the next and finding a book they want to read that means something to them.                 

Melissa Jordan @melisscreate15

These collections are designed to bring into the school environment what I believe happens naturally in some supportive families that prioritise reading aloud at home when their child is in Key Stage 1.  So that everyone can benefit.  

It is only with the passage of time that I have begun to appreciate what my own children have got from being read aloud and sharing and exploring books like these on a weekly basis over several years. They have intuitively learnt some of the rules by which picture books convey their messages, they have had ample opportunity to explore meaning. But, above all else they have gained a love of story, and had the opportunity to learn what they do and don’t like, and make their own connections with individual stories.

At the heart of Reading Pathway collections is the belief that:

  • picture books have value in their own right and can foster a love of reading and children’s books in both children and adults
  • playing with both pictures and words in a supportive environment is important to many children (and adults) in discovering a love of stories and finding new ones they really like. This affects the will and the desire to want to find books they want to read. 
  • If you put quality children’s illustrators and authors together and connect them in some way, whether that be by a theme or the authors or illustrators themselves, you increase the opportunities for informal book talk which help build reading communities. You also add an additional element which may be crucial to some children and their parents in providing a framework through which they can navigate the choices available to find books they want to read. 
Why Reading Pathways Collections?

Put simply Reading Pathway collections are a strategy to encourage children to make more connections with stories and between books to help them explore the kind of stories and pictures they love and to find their next and future reads. ‘Pathway’ came from the idea on which my book blog: was founded. That we can help children to navigate their reading for pleasure journeys by providing a series of stepping stones, and some possible pathways to explore. ‘Guiding Reading – Layers of Meaning’ (1) talks about the importance of scaffolding in developing children’s reading comprehension skills. Reading Pathway collections are the reading for pleasure equivalent to help foster a love of stories in children in year 1, year 2 and year 3 and help them and the grown-ups in their lives explore and find new books they want to read.

(1)2016: Wayne Tenenent, David Reedy, Angela Hobsbawm, Niki Gamble: Guiding Readers – Layers of Meaning: A handbook for teaching reading comprehension to 7 to 11 year olds. Institute of Education Press.

Find out more about my Reading Pathway collections here:

Reading Pathways

Looking for something smaller to get you started, test out the idea, convince others its worth investing in or have a large school and a small book budget?

Then check out my Mini story boxes founded on the same principles as Reading Pathways.

Mini story boxes


Melissa Jordan, Readers that Care, Cambourne, Cambridge









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