Young Ballymun

The Hug Your Book© Programme

The Hug Your Book© Programme is a family literacy evidence-based programme for parents developed by Lána McCarthy (  for Youngballymun.  It can be delivered by Adult Literacy Tutors, Speech and Language Therapists, Home School Community Liaison Teachers, Early Years Practitioners, basically anyone with an understanding of children’s language and literacy development and a passion for working with parents.

The Hug Your Book© Programme is for all parents who want to make reading fun and learn new ways to support their children’s literacy skills through fun and rewarding activities. The Hug Your Book© Programme can be developed to support children’s language and literacy development as well as social and emotional needs.

The learning outcomes:

The programme supports parents to develop a range of skills to support their children’s reading writing and talking. Parents are supported to:

  • Hug their books!
  • Model to their children that learning is fun and enjoyable
  • Encourage their children to have a positive attitude to learning
  • Develop their children’s imagination
  • Develop children’s reading and writing skills
  • Learn new ways to develop their children’s language skills
  • Develop a love of learning in the home environment
  • Reflect on home learning opportunities
  • Support children’s social and emotional development
  • Builds relationships between parent and child and school and home

Youngballymun will be advertising training for the Hug Your Book© Programme for practitioners that will share the current unique way of working in Ballymun that has parents attend in large numbers. Using the step-by-step guidance for practitioners the Hug Your Book© Programme is ideal for any organisation wanting to deliver an evidence-based programme that works. The programme has a pre and post evaluation tool.

Watch this space for the upcoming training programme and read here a testimonial from Kilkenny Adult Learning Service, KCETB, on the Hug Your Book©  Programme training they did with Youngballymun and the amazing implementation outcomes of the programme:

“Kilkenny Adult Learning Service, KCETB are delighted to be part of the amazing HYB programme. We completed our training with Youngballymun  in January 2020 and started our first session just six weeks before the lockdown, we got off to a great start working face to face and all parents were very excited about the programme. Then it all stopped, we continued to keep in touch, posting out some books and materials but on a small scale.

In September, we secured devices on loan for all parents and began setting everyone up on MS Teams, as we were limited on spaces to meet.

Then, we did the testimonial from Kilkenny Adult Learning Service, KCETB, the Hug Your Book© Programme as an online trial and it was extremely successful. We went from one core group of eight parents to three groups totalling over thirty parents by Christmas. The packs were posted by ETB or delivered by the HSCL. 

In December 2020, we asked parents to bring a friend and had a Christmas Spectacular online event, working on ‘The Jolly Christmas Postman’, with close to 50 parents taking part, together with local School Principals and KCETB management.  Each parent got a pack with their book, resources and Christmas treats, it was a great success.

 Following on from this the original core group progressed onto doing QQI level 3 The Role of Play in Child Development, they are now working on Communications Level 3 based entirely on the Hug Your Book© Programme. Another group of parents moved on to do some Irish, all complete beginners and are now working on familiar books from HYB such as Monkey Puzzle, Squash and a Squeeze and The Gruffalo in Irish. They are now working with their tutor to develop resources for the Irish version of these books.

Another boost for our online Easter & Summer events was getting the authors to come online and give parents the opportunity to comment and ask questions.

While most of our Hug Your Book©  Programmes remain online we now have two new face to face groups, a group of Traveller parents who all have children in junior or senior infants, all would have low levels of literacy themselves, so we adapt to suit their level. We also have a new group of parents from a local community preschool who come as they drop children off at 9am.

Recently, we’ve moved one of the online daytime slots to evening time, at the request of parents for the winter evenings. This is proving to be very popular, parents really enjoy having the children with them, usually, we’d throw in a game or ask them to wear a particular colour, just to add some variety.

The benefits of the Hug Your Book© Programme are enormous in terms of engagement, continued engagement, progression and above all fun during these challenging times. One young mother, witnessed her six year old sitting outside her house with two friends showing them how to hug their books, asking them why their mammies didn’t do this course.

The only problem we’ve encountered is the child who didn’t want to go back to school, she wanted to stay online with us!”
(Testimonial from Kilkenny Adult Learning Service, KCETB)

© Youngballymun