The rhyme and reason of reading to dementia patients

Following on from Claire’s post about TRO in The Times

There’s a piece in Society Guardian today about Katie Clark’s work in dementia care homes and the publication of our anthology, A Little, Aloud, which we hope to see in every care home in the UK very soon:

It’s really hard when family members have developed dementia. They can’t remember the people you’re talking about, or even what day it is. You want to go and visit people and have a nice time with them, but what do you talk about? The book is a wonderful resource for sharing something together.

Read it in full here.

If you work in or visit care homes or hospitals, please do buy a copy of A Little, Aloud: it will give you, and the person you care for, some very special moments.

A Little, Aloud: The London Launch

Yesterday afternoon Jane and I left sunny Liverpool to head down to (a rather grey) London and meet up with Angie for the launch of A Little, Aloud in Waterstone’s, Piccadilly. Worried that no-one would turn up due to the tube strikes (I have poor luck when it comes to strikes interrupting my plans) and if we would even get across London in time ourselves, we were overjoyed to see the room filling up with plenty of friendly faces and some unknown ones.

Hosted by Jane, the event was full of warmth and energy and we were joined by the endearing and amusing Richard Briers, the elegant Joanna Trollope and our chief patron, Blake Morrison, all of them doing readings from the book, all of them brilliantly: Blake read Seamus Heaney’s poem ‘Digging’ and Gillian Clarke’s ‘Miracle on St. David’s Day’, Joanna Trollope read Saki’s ‘The Lumber Room’, and Richard Briers read ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’. Angie spoke movingly about the genesis of the book – reading aloud with groups in care homes – and then read Keats’ ‘A Thing of Beauty’, beautiful itself.

A Little, Aloud is out in the world now, and we’re all incredibly proud.

You can order your copy here.

Joanna, Jane, Richard, Blake and Angie
Richard Briers reads 'The Charge of the Light Brigade'
Angie talks about how the book came about


Thanks to A Little, Aloud, the word about reading aloud is spreading further and wider. Agebomb, a site published by Geraldine Bedel, is “an attempt to monitor the changing landscape brought about by population explosion” and, after hearing about the book, has visited one of our Get Into Reading groups and written about ‘The Joy of Reading Aloud’:

Until recently, though, it hadn’t occurred to me that reading aloud was a perfect pastime for older people. Listening to the written word in the company of others and discussing what you have heard is about as un-patronising an activity as you could find: democratic, shared, and exhilarating, allowing individuals to find meaning together, to make connections and uncover memories.

Read it in full.

The Reader Organisation Showcases

Want to know more about The Reader Organisation and Get Into Reading? Interested in running or commissioning shared reading group projects but not sure how to go about it? Need to know how Read to Lead Training can improve your services?

Well, now all of these questions can be answered at our new Showcase events:

Showcases are free, two-hour events in which you can meet The Reader Organisation face to face and find out the answers to these questions. Through a detailed presentation, beneficiary case stories and readings from key members of TRO staff you will gain a deeper understanding of what we do, how we do it, and, crucially, how you can get involved. It is your first step towards becoming a part of the Reading Revolution!

The next Showcases will be held on the following dates and locations:

  • Wednesday 20th October, 2pm-4pm: London
  • Monday 15th November, 2pm – 4pm: Birmingham
  • Monday 29th November, 2pm-4pm: London

Showcases are free events but you must book your place in order to attend. Spaces are limited, so it is advised to book well in advance to avoid disappointment. To book your place, or to find out more, please contact Mark Till, Training Officer, on or 0151 794 2286

TRO shortlisted for Morgan Foundation Entrepreneur Award

It’s been a week of excitement here at The Reader Organisation and it’s not over yet:

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve been shortlisted as part of the Morgan Foundation Entrepreneur Awards! We’ve been nominated in the Best Entrepreneurial Charity or Social Enterprise in Liverpool.

The awards were established in 2007 and are designed to encourage entrepreneurship in the North West and North Wales – whether in new businesses, young entrepreneurs, social enterprises or charities. More info here.

The ceremony will be held on 11th November, so we’ll let you know the outcome then – until then, wish us luck!

Angela Macmillan on Open Book

Hear Angela Macmillan, the Editor of A Little, Aloud (published today!) – and also one of the editors of The Reader magazine – talking with Mariella Frostrup and Joanna Trollope on Radio 4’s ‘Open Book’ this afternoon at 4pm about the pleasure and benefits of reading aloud (or if you can’t wait, you can listen to the show’s original broadcast from Sunday on iPlayer right now).

“Being read to is the beguiling beginning of learning to love reading – it opens the door to absolutely everything and anything we might want to do in life.”
Joanna Trollope

A Little, Aloud: OUT NOW!

A Little, Aloud (ed. by Angela Macmillan) is available to buy online (from Amazon and Waterstone’s, plus others…), and in bookstores across the UK from today! We hope that the book brings you, and those that you read it aloud with, great enjoyment and treasured moments. Please leave us comments here on our blog telling your stories about who you’ve been reading it with and where – we’d love you to share those special moments with us.

Below are a few photographs from last night’s launch event in Waterstone’s Liverpool ONE. We were joined by Alan Yates (Chief Executive, Mersey Care NHS Trust) who spoke warmly and genuinely about the huge benefits of Get Into Reading both in the trust and for him personally, and Janet Suzman who read two poems from A Little, Aloud and told us how she is having the time of her life directing Antony and Cleopatra at Liverpool’s Playhouse theatre:

Angela Macmillan, Alan Yates, Janet Suzman (reading), Jane Davis (and some low evening sunlight!)
Angela Macmillan reading 'Friendship' from the book
It's really here... and flying off the shelves already!

A Little, Aloud Liverpool Launch: SOLD OUT!

The Liverpool launch for A Little, Aloud (edited by Angela Macmillan) has now SOLD OUT! If you weren’t able to get a ticket in time, there’s still a chance to catch the London launch with a panel discussion featuring Angela Macmillan, Jane Davis and our patron Blake Morrison, and readings by Richard Briers and Joanna Trollope: Waterstone’s Piccadilly, Monday 4th October at 6.30pm (call 020 7851 2400 to book your place).

For those of you attending on Wednesday, a reminder of the details:

Wednesday, 29 September 2010, 6:00PM

Join The Reader Organisation, Academy Award nominated Janet Suzman, and Alan Yates (CEO, Mersey Care NHS Trust) with some special guests in a evening of readings and discussions about reading aloud for health and wellbeing to launch A Little, Aloud.

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A Little, Aloud: an anthology of prose and poetry for reading aloud to someone you care for edited by Angela Macmillan with The Reader Organisation is published by Chatto & Windus on 30th September.

A Little, Aloud: Janet Suzman confirmed for Liverpool Launch

Janet Suzman reading from Great Expectations at the Penny Readings 2008

The magnificent, Academy Award nominated, Janet Suzman, who is currently directing Kim Cattrall in a much-anticipated production of Antony and Cleopatra at Liverpool Playhouse (opens 8th October), will be doing a special reading as part of the launch event for A Little, Aloud in Liverpool next week. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on this one:

Wednesday, 29 September 2010, 6:00PM

Join The Reader Organisation, Janet Suzman and Alan Yates (CEO, Mersey Care NHS Trust) and some special guests in a evening of readings and discussions about reading aloud for health and wellbeing to launch A Little, Aloud.