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 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.
Jane Davis says:
‘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, including Mersey Care NHS Trust, Wirral and Liverpool Libraries, Wirral PCT, HMP Liverpool, Bupa Care Homes, Tesco and Liverpool Hope University. Each week the charity delivers over 200 groups across Merseyside, reaching over 1300 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.
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.’
To mark the project’s tenth birthday, The Reader Organisation has put together a list of the most popular books from the past ten years of Get Into Reading and wants to find out who you would most like to hear reading these books aloud. You can read the list and vote for your favourite athttp://thereader.org.uk/2012/