Rarely have I been as excited about an organization as I am about The Reader Organisation, a British-based group whose mission is to bring about a reading revolution. A reading revolution!
"The work we do," says The Reader Organisation, "is driven by a love for great literature and a strong belief that shared reading is a deeply powerful activity that can significantly enrich and improve lives and the communities we live in. We work to transform the ways in which people view literature and get them utilising it in their everyday lives. We work to dramatically change society's collective approach to reading - making literature accessible, available, emotionally rewarding, and fun. We work to turn reading from an occasional solitary activity into a regular shared experience, bringing people together to read aloud, encouraging them to engage with literature and with each other."
In 2010, Frank Cottrell Boyce was approached by The Reader Organisation to participate in their Our Read program. He was asked to write a book, which became The Unforgotten Coat, and 50,000 free copies - FREE! - were distributed in order to have people unite in a reading experience. (Boyce waived his commission stating that, "The whole point of writing for me is to share the stories that are in my head... So the opportunity The Reader Organisation has given me... is the biggest thrill ride I can possibly imagine.") They encourage the novel to be shared and passed along, and the organization offers teaching guides, discussion groups, and events based on the book.
The Reader Organisation also brings its unique, communal read-aloud Get Into Reading program to hospitals, prisons, libraries, elderly centers, and schools in various locations in the UK, and they train people in their Read to Lead techniques so that more of these reading programs can be created. They have Reader-in-Residence projects, and Community Theatre programs as well.
This is a truly remarkable organization. "We find people who are not readers or who have lost their connection with literature, people who are isolated, lonely, or who could otherwise benefit from reading books, and bring them together for the simple pleasure of reading aloud and discussing the thoughts and feelings that are evoked. Over time, people build up a confidence that enables them to tell their own stories, as well as to forge close relationships with fellow readers."
Watch the BBC video below to learn about the power of reading and how The Reader Organisation has helped people fight depression.
This article is from the November 3, 2011 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.
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