A Little, Aloud for Mother’s Day

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Mother’s Day is just around the corner and it has us thinking about the literary mums celebrated in our A Little, Aloud anthologies so we thought we’d share our recommended reads for Mother’s Day.

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A Year of Books: Five of the Best from 2016

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As Angela McMillan, co-editor of The Reader magazine, turns her attention to her reading list for the year ahead, we ask what she loved in 2016.

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Find a Christmas gift for all at The Reader

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There’s no hiding from it anymore, Christmas is coming. But don’t panic, we’ve got bookish gifts all wrapped up!

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Recommended Reads: Poetry and Dementia

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Continuing on from yesterday’s focus on dementia for World Alzheimer’s Day, we look at some of the poems which work well in Shared Reading groups.

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Recommended Reads: Poetry and Dementia

pcs-review-books-55q

Continuing on from yesterday’s focus on dementia for World Alzheimer’s Day, we look at some of the poems which work well in Shared Reading groups.

Continue reading “Recommended Reads: Poetry and Dementia”

4 things we learnt from A Little Aloud With Love

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It’s been two months since the launch of our latest anthology A Little Aloud With Love but we’re still sharing the love because who says romance is just for Valentine’s Day?

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A Little, Aloud for Children Pack-ed into Schools

ALittleAloud for Children cover onlineSome brilliant news in about A Little, Aloud for Children this World Book Day…

We’re absolutely delighted to hear that the anthology has been included in this year’s BookTrust School Library Pack. The School Library Pack is a reading for pleasure programme available to secondary schools and education providers for Year 7 students throughout England, encouraging students to try out new authors and books that they might not have considered reading before, take part in activities around their reading and support a culture of more frequent reading for pleasure within schools.

The pack contains over 40 specially chosen books, sorted into the categories of Reluctant Reader, Future Classics and Short Story anthologies, to which A Little, Aloud for Children sits alongside titles from Malorie Blackman and David Almond.

Last year 4,700 secondary schools across England received the pack, with wider reading being a huge success amongst both staff and students. Registration for the 2015-16 School Library Pack has now closed, and the packs will be delivered to schools by the end of March. Participating schools can visit the BookTrust website to download a range of supporting resources.

It’s brilliant to know that even more young people will be able to access all of the great selections in A Little, Aloud for Children whilst in school – and hopefully they’ll get reading even more as a result!

The book can be ordered on The Reader’s website, and we can assure you that it’s a treat.

Get ready for World Read Aloud Day 2016

WRAD 2016 logoBy Robert Lyon, Communications Intern

Reading aloud holds so much value for individuals of all backgrounds and communities and so it is with great excitement that we look forward to World Read Aloud Day. On February 24th 2016 – that’s tomorrow – World Read Aloud Day calls attention to the importance of reading aloud and sharing stories. To read is to understand the thoughts and ideas of others; reading takes you away to another time and place and gives voice to the chaotic emotions of life.

“When reading, I could breathe.” – Former inpatient and Shared Reading group member

To read out loud is to take the words out of a book and bring them to life, making them resonate with readers on a personal and emotional level. World Read Aloud Day does something very special in seeking to encourage everyone to take the time to pick up a book, get reading and connect with themselves and others.

“Normally when I’m reading, I’m thinking about what I’m going to have for my tea! But reading aloud really helps you to concentrate and take it in.” – participant in a Shared Reading session

World Read Aloud Day is organised by LitWorld, a not for profit organisation that aims to promote global literacy and has had a lot of success doing it. With projects in places like the Philippines, Haiti and Africa they seek to give all children the ability to be a reader no matter their social or economic backgrounds. Their work in many ways reflects The Reader’s passion for literature and a desire to use it to help others.

One of our current projects that utilises reading aloud and encouraging it amongst a younger generation is the Off The Page project, commissioned by Liverpool Families Programme at Liverpool City Council.

“With a book it’s not like telly ‘cos it’s your imagination” – Charlie, 12 years old

Our Off The Page team are training volunteers to read one to one with 8 to 16 year olds for an hour a week, wherever possible in their own homes, taking a love of literature to disadvantaged young people across Liverpool. As well as reading one to one the project also hosts Family Fun days where Shared Reading is enjoyed with not only the children but the adults in their lives – be they parents, foster parents or workers. You can find out more about volunteering with Off The Page on our website.

Our new read-aloud anthology A Little, Aloud with Love - perfect to celebrate World Read Aloud Day!
Our new read-aloud anthology A Little, Aloud with Love – perfect to celebrate World Read Aloud Day!

Want to try reading aloud yourself? Here are some of our top tips for reading aloud from our dedicated Group Leaders:

  • Read silently to yourself first to familiarise yourself to the text
  • Practice reading aloud a couple of times to familiarise yourself with how you speak the text
  • Make eye contact with your audience every now and then
  • Mark your place with a finger so you don’t get lost!

Now have a go! Here’s something from our new anthology A Little, Aloud with Love to sink your teeth into and get reading aloud. Why not share the love of reading aloud with someone close this World Read Aloud Day?

To A Stranger

Passing stranger! you do not know
How longingly I look upon you,
You must be he I was seeking,
Or she I was seeking,
(it comes to me, as of a dream,)

I have somewhere surely
Lived a life of joy with you,
All is recall’d as we flit by each other,
Fluid, affectionate, chaste, matured,

You grew up with me,
Were a boy with me or a girl with me,
I ate with you, and slept with you—your body has become
Not yours only, nor left my body mine only.

You give me the pleasure of your eyes,
Face, flesh, as we pass—you take of my beard, breast, hands,
In return,

I am not to speak to you—I am to think of you
When I sit alone, or wake at night alone,
I am to wait—I do not doubt I am to meet you again,
I am to see to it that I do not lose you.

Walt Whitman

A Little, Aloud with Love is launched!

Last week was a special one – not only because it was Valentine’s Day, but also because we officially launched A Little, Aloud with Love!

Gogglebox stars and Liverpool lovebirds Leon and June read at our A Little, Aloud with Love launch in Waterstones Liverpool ONE
Gogglebox stars and Liverpool lovebirds Leon and June read at our A Little, Aloud with Love launch in Waterstones Liverpool ONE

Our destination was Waterstones Liverpool ONE – a beautiful and suitably intimate setting for book lovers. Before things got underway, guests were treated to fizz, nibbles, chocolate and even Love Hearts, if they took their fancy, and were serenaded with live love songs from our musicians playing everything from The Beatles to Ed Sheeran – the mood was perfect to make us feel full of love.

Owner of one of the smoothest voices on radio, BBC Radio Merseyside’s Roger Phillips played host for the evening, leading us effortlessly through the many aspects of love the book contains and posing some romantic teasers to our guest readers. Starting the evening in style actor, performer and presenter Mike Neary read Haruki Murakami’s On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning, causing sighs and contemplation, giving lots to think on the topics of love at first sight and feelings of romantic deja vu. Mike also spoke about the beauty of reading aloud, which is something we definitely agree with!

The evening took a more poignant turn with paired readings from A Little, Aloud with Love’s editor Angela Macmillan and Professor Philip Davis, Director of the Centre for Research into Reading, Literature and Society at the University of Liverpool. Angie read a heartwrenching extract from Under Storm’s Wing, written by Helen Thomas in memory of her husband, the poet Edward Thomas, who was killed in World War One. Hearing it next to a poem from Edward – emotionally titled And You, Helen, and read by Professor Davis – made the selection all the more moving.

Our amazing editor Angie Macmillan signs copies of the book for an eager audience
Our amazing editor Angie Macmillan signs copies of the book for an eager audience

After a break for more treats amongst the rose petals, tears of sorrow quickly turned ones of laughter as Gogglebox favourites and veterans of love June and Leon took to the stage to read to one another and the eager audience – June’s choice being My Lover by Wendy Cope and Leon replying with Love Poem by John Frederick Nims. The local lovebirds – married for over 60 years – told us about the most ‘unromantic’ things they do for one another and shared some of their secrets of what makes such a long-lasting relationship.

The night was rounded off by none other than The Reader’s Founder and Director Jane Davis with plenty of words of love to set A Little, Aloud with Love out into the world. There was even an extra treat for a lucky crowd member thanks to a sumptous hamper donated by Delifonseca, all for buying a copy of the book on the night.

We’ll be celebrating the book in London later this year – another love-filled event for us to look forward to, and there’ll be further details to come right here on the A Little, Aloud blog in the coming weeks. There’s no need to wait to get your hands on a copy however, as they’re available to buy now, in stores and online.

 

Featured Poem: First Love by John Clare

We’re in the mood for love here at The Reader, thanks to the publication of our new anthology A Little, Aloud with Love – the latest book in the A Little, Aloud series celebrating that special emotion and perhaps the most fêted subject in the history of English literature. Featuring a wealth of great writers from Shakespeare to Shelley, getting right up-to-date with authors including Haruki Murakami, Wendy Cope and Margaret Atwood, A Little, Aloud with Love celebrates love in all its forms and not only the romantic kind – though of course, there are plenty of poems and stories inside the book to woo or otherwise delight the object of your affection.

To celebrate the arrival of A Little, Aloud with Love – and that little-known lovers’ holiday called Valentine’s Day that is approaching at the end of the week – this week’s Featured Poem is a choice taken from the book itself by John Clare. Speaking about the first flushes of love and the effects it can bring, both physical and emotional, it’s bound to strike a chord with anyone who has experienced the euphoria and confusion of falling in love.

If this ode whets your appetite for more, A Little, Aloud with Love is now available to buy from our website and in stores.

First Love

I ne’er was struck before that hour
With love so sudden and so sweet,
Her face it bloomed like a sweet flower
And stole my heart away complete.
My face turned pale as deadly pale,
My legs refused to walk away,
And when she looked, what could I ail?

My life and all seemed turned to clay.

And then my blood rushed to my face
And took my eyesight quite away,
The trees and bushes round the place
Seemed midnight at noonday.
I could not see a single thing,
Words from my eyes did start—
They spoke as chords do from the string,
And blood burnt round my heart.

Are flowers the winter’s choice?
Is love’s bed always snow?
She seemed to hear my silent voice,
Not love’s appeals to know.
I never saw so sweet a face
As that I stood before.
My heart has left its dwelling-place
And can return no more.

John Clare


 

For those of you in Liverpool, we’re launching A Little, Aloud with Love this week at a special event at Waterstones Liverpool One on Thursday 11th February from 6.30pm. Featuring live readings from the book and music designed to pluck at your heart strings, the evening will be hosted BBC Radio Merseyside’s Roger Phillips and also features Gogglebox stars and Liverpool lovebirds June and Leon.

Tickets for the A Little, Aloud with Love launch cost £3 and can be bought on the door or booked in advance by calling Waterstones Liverpool One on 0151 709 9820.