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The Reading Revolution on Merseyside, UK

A project with a large social outreach


Logo of the Reader Organisation

The Reader Organisation, based on Merseyside, UK, wants to bring about a Reading Revolution. It works to maximise access to books and enjoyable shared reading to ensure that books do not remain on shelves, unread and ineffective but get into the hands of people who can really benefit from them. The Reader Organisation is dedicated to bringing about a Reading Revolution and its leading social outreach project ‘Get Into Reading’, which delivers weekly reading groups aiming to improve wellbeing, build community and extend reading enjoyment, is one way it is realising its aspirations.

In the presence of books, it`s as if a hand has reached out and taken our own. That`s the hand The Reader Organisation is trying to extend. (Blake Morrison, the Guardian)

Reading Hero medals for ‘Get Into Reading’ group members
The importance of the work of The Reader Organisation was recently acknowledged at 10 Downing Street, when Jane Davis, Director of The Reader Organisation, and Louise Jones, ‘Get Into Reading’ group member, were both awarded Reading Hero medals by the National Year of Reading.

Louise`s story is one of triumph over adversity and a great example of the power of reading. A sufferer of Asperger`s Syndrome and debilitating diabetes, she has often found social situations to be challenging. Books have always provided a welcome escape, but it wasn`t until last year that the social benefits of reading came to the fore. Through a Shakespeare Get Into Reading group in Birkenhead, Louise has now taken part in a Shakespeare play, in front of hundreds of people, overcoming enormous personal and physical barriers.

Reading aloud with others offers something valuable
Get Into Reading is changing people’s lives, for the better, and there is nothing complicated about it. Group members meet weekly for a couple of hours, and just two things happen: a facilitator or group member reads aloud; the reading is broken up by conversation and response to the text. Reading aloud with others, as hundreds of people are discovering, clearly offers something valuable.
"It`s like another door has opened and the light has come in" K, a ‘Get Into Reading’ member.

There are now more than eighty Get Into Reading groups that meet each week across Merseyside in community centres, libraries, homeless shelters, hospitals, schools, art centres, doctors’ surgeries, drug rehab centres and care homes. What’s more, Get Into Reading is developing across the UK, with groups already established in East Lancashire, Essex, London, Salford; and with its Read to Lead training programme, more people are learning the skills necessary to develop the project in their area.

Through Get Into Reading, and other projects and events, The Reader Organisation is realising its aims to bring about a Reading Revolution - making it possible for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to engage at a deep and personal level with the best literature ever written. Its work is driven by the heartfelt belief that `literacy` is not just the ability to read, but the state of being a reader, and the intention of the Reading Revolution is to demonstrate that books can be accessible to all – a serious pleasure, as well as a significant catalyst for personal growth.

Get Into Reading Conference and Readers’ Day on 8th and 9th January 2010
The Reader Organisation, working in partnership with the University of Liverpool, Wirral PCT, Mersey Care NHS Trust and Liverpool PCT, is planning New Beginnings, the first national Get Into Reading Conference, which will share findings and best practice from our innovative reader development and social outreach programme.
The conference is being held at Blackburne House, Liverpool, U.K., on Friday 8th January 2010 (9am - 5pm), and is followed by a Literary Supper on the Friday evening, and a Readers` Day, which follows on Saturday 9th January (9.30am - 4pm).
Tickets for the Conference (Friday 8th Jan) and the Readers` Day (Saturday 9th Jan), plus dinner on Friday evening, are only £100. To book, or for more information, please contact See also: Promoting Reading in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland