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The question and procedures of integrating children into wider society during the medieval and early modern period are debated across a wide range of contemporary texts, in both print and manuscript form. This study takes as its focus the ways in which vernacular literature (including English courtesy poems, incunabula and sixteenth-century printed household books, grammar school statutes, and pedagogic books) provided a guide to socialising children. The author examines how the transmission and reception of this literature, showing how patterns of thought changed during the period for parents, teachers, and young people alike; and places children and family reading networks into the context of debates on the history of childhood, and the history of the book. Merridee L. Bailey is a lecturer at the Department of History, Australia National University.