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Are you sitting comfortably?

Top-Five-Bad-Reading-Habits-You-Should-Avoid-At-All-CostsWhen you think about reading aloud, you probably think of children, don’t you? Bed-time stories, perhaps, or reading to a group at school or play-group. But there are a growing number of adults in the UK who are rediscovering the joy of hearing a story read aloud.

The concept is called ‘shared reading’, and it replicates what previous generations took for granted: the experience of sitting together in a room or around a fire, listening to stories together. Over the years reading has become a solitary experience, but there are huge benefits to sharing it with others. Books read aloud take on another dimension – part literature, part performance – and so your interpretation of the story changes. For many people, particularly those with dyslexia or short attention spans, reading is hard work: providing ‘live audio’ means the listeners can enjoy the story without struggling or skipping sections. Like other group-based activities, shared reading builds social connections and and provides a supportive framework of like-minded people.

The Reader Organisation aims to enhance communities by providing shared reading experiences. The website is littered with testimonials showing how their work increases self-awareness, confidence and wellbeing, and offers some impressive statistics:

74% said shared reading had improved their mood

81% are more able to relax

72% felt shared reading had helped them think about things in a different way

To find out more about the work carried out by The Reader Organisation, take a look at their website. In the meantime, why not start some shared reading of your own? Read to a partner, or pair up with a friend to take turns to read aloud. If you live alone, try reading aloud to yourself, and consider how it changes the way you feel about the story, and about the language used. It’s a whole new experience.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then let’s begin.


2 thoughts on “Are you sitting comfortably?

  1. My mother remembers shared reading as a war time experience. Her family and next door neighbours shared an air-raid shelter in their back garden, and during air-raids would read their way through Dickens, passing the book around and reading a few pages each. Sixty years on she remembers this as a happy thing, despite being a child in an East Anglian town with a munitions factory (and therefore a target for bombing).

  2. What a wonderful story, Sheila, thank you so much for sharing. It would be lovely to see ‘shared reading’ more commonplace in our lives again – preferably without the impetus of a bomb shelter!

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