The Reader is a national charity which is working to bring the human benefits of sharing great stories to people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.
They bring people together in small groups, to read good quality literature aloud and stop every so often to talk about what we have read. They define ‘good quality literature’ as writing which captures and gives language to some of the deepest areas of human experience- in its joys, challenges and complexities.
Trained Reader Leaders take responsibility for all reading aloud, in case group members do not have reading skills themselves, or simply wish to sit back and listen that day. The model is based around an ethos of acceptance and kindness, meaning that no one is ever put on the spot, or expected to read out loud or even speak.
Michelle Barrett, Community Engagement Coordinator at The Reader, said:
“We are not an educational programme or literacy support, but rather celebrate the personal responses of the people we read with and the connections made during sessions we run. We work in nurseries, schools, mental health inpatient wards, prisons, community centres and care homes, to name a few settings. In a piece of recent research carried out by our partners at the University of Liverpool, one group member had this to say about their experience of Shared Reading:
‘I’m not really a book person. I’m the person who’d probably go to the end or just get distracted or give up, or it’s boring, you know, I don’t take the time to sort of get involved. But now I think: really is this what books can do? I go into it. It is really bringing me alive. It is making me awaken…’ ”
Visit The Reader’s website to find out more.