'Reading the Way 2' built on the success of ‘Reading the Way: Inclusive Books from Around the World', an innovative research and development project which took place in 2014-2015.
This first project involved identifying particularly inclusive or accessible books from around the world and exploring them with the help of children and other experts. It set out specifically to identify a range of titles that might be considered to stand out in terms of being 'accessible' to children with additional needs and/or 'inclusive' (i.e. including disability or disabled characters within the story).
Funded by Arts Council England and the Unwin Charitable Trust, the aims of the 2017 ‘Reading the Way 2’ project were two-fold – to increase awareness of books from overseas and also to generate discussion around inclusive and accessible literature.
This was achieved by taking authors, illustrators and translators into a number of schools. Workshops were delivered involving a diverse range of students and using selected books from the first project. The workshops explored ideas such as how and why the selected books are ‘inclusive’ and/or ‘accessible’ and whether they might be improved or enhanced, particularly for UK audiences. Crucially, in each case, an in-school project was also then developed, based on the outcomes of the initial workshop, enabling the students to analyse the books in greater depth.