This time last week I was just finishing my first day of Reader Leader training! I was over the moon to be accepted onto The Reader’s training as part of their Big Give scheme. The Reader are the leading organisation in Shared Reading and have been working with groups for more than ten years. They promote reading as a way to improve social inclusion, well-being and connection. They are the Gold Standard of reading groups and they are the reason I set up Reading for Wellbeing. So when I had the opportunity to apply to be part of their older persons project I jumped at it.
The Reader in Liverpool
Last week I spent three days at their Calderstones Park HQ with nine other like minded people learning all about Shared Reading. I did train about seven years ago, but, guided by the wonderful Tom and Amanda, I was able to take that training to the next level and beyond! Over the three days we covered a vast amount which included several practical sessions. As a group we got to grips with choosing and preparing our literature. We developed reading aloud skills and how to guide the group through discussion. Shared Reading sounds simple, and it is but only if you are trained in the right way. The enthusiasm and kindness shown by the trainers really helped to get the best out of us. We were introduced to some staff from The Reader as part of our training which really reinforced the passion and belief everyone has in this method. Jane Davies, the founder, popped in to meet us. She is very much involved in all aspects of the organisation, in fact we were her first customers in the Reader Café!
The feeling I had whilst there was of utter excitement for the future of Reading for Wellbeing. I was constantly reassured that I am moving in the right direction. That my gut feeling of Shared Reading being a powerful tool in helping people was right. Each night after training I struggled to slow my mind down as I was buzzing with ideas and possibility. So now, with fresh ideas and the many resources supplied by The Reader, I am ready to get started. Now we set up groups with older people and just get started. Simple!