The Reader Organisation’s Get Into Reading project celebrates its tenth birthday this month.
With its mission to ‘bring about a reading revolution’, the charity’s read aloud groups have taken Shakespeare to supermarkets, poetry to prisons and Hardy to hospitals.
The project, which aims to connect people with great literature and each other, was started in 2002 by the charity’s director Dr Jane Davis. She received funding from the University of Liverpool’s widening participation fund to set up two weekly reading groups for young mothers and adult learners in Birkenhead.
She said: “I wanted to get books into the hands of people like myself who needed them, so I set up Get Into Reading to bring books and people together. People began to tell me: ‘This isn’t just reading, this is good for my health, you should be getting paid by the NHS’.”
Ten years later and The Reader Organisation works with a diverse range of partners to deliver Get Into Reading, including Mersey Care NHS Trust, Wirral and Liverpool Libraries, Wirral PCT, HMP Liverpool, Bupa Care Homes and Tesco.
Each week the charity delivers over 200 groups across Merseyside, reaching over 1,300 people aged 3 to 103. And the revolution is growing – there are another 100 groups taking place in London, the South West, Glasgow and Belfast.
This year, The Reader Organisation has forged a strong partnership with the University of Liverpool’s Centre for Research into Reading, Information and Linguistic Systems (CRILS), who are researching and evaluating the charity’s shared reading intervention for people living with dementia, people engaged with the criminal justice system and people living with chronic pain.
Impacts of the groups include increased personal confidence and reduced social isolation, improved emotional and psychological wellbeing, greater stability and support, and a growing love of books.
A group member from Liverpool said: “Get Into Reading has given me the confidence to move on to a better place.”
For more information on The Reader Organisation, contact Jen Tomkins or telephone: 0151 207 7228.