HRH the Duchess of Cornwall enjoys more shared reading

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall and Frank Field MP join the Read It Together group at Manor Children's Centre, Birkenhead
HRH The Duchess of Cornwall and Frank Field MP join the Read It Together group at Manor Children’s Centre, Birkenhead

A very special royal guest has returned to share some reading with us…

Last month Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall became patron of the Foundation Years Trust, a trust aimed at providing an early years intervention for children and families most at risk from the effects of poverty. The Reader Organisation works with Foundation Years Trust as part of the Birkenhead Foundation Years Project, supporting families through pregnancy to when children start full-time at school. Alongside other initiatives, we provide Read It Together groups for parents and children to enjoy stories together and develop a love of reading that will contribute towards a child’s learning and increased development.

As part of the recent Royal visit to Merseyside with His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, the Duchess made a visit to Manor Primary School in Birkenhead where initiatives from the Birkenhead Foundation Years Project are taking place. After a visit to the Bump-Start group, the Duchess spent time at our Read It Together group for parents, carers and children aged 0-5 at Manor Children’s Centre, along with Frank Field MP, Chair of Foundation Years Trust and Zoe Munby, Director of the Birkenhead Foundation Years Project.

Little boy receives flower from The DuchessThe group has been running weekly every Thursday afternoon since September 2014, letting children discover reading with their parents and carers through story and rhyme sessions. As children spend time with play workers, adults get the time to read together for themselves in a relaxed space, encouraging reading to continue amongst the family.

Amanda Boston, our Reader in Residence at Birkenhead Foundation Years Project, led the group in reading Owl Babies by Martin Waddell along with some songs. Following the children’s group, the Duchess joined in the adjoining 10 minute session especially for the adult members to read and discuss One Another’s Light by Brian Patten. As an avid reader and supporter of literacy it was wonderful that the Duchess could take part in the shared reading experience.

It’s not the Duchess’s first time finding out about shared reading – in July last year she dropped into one of our groups for people living with dementia while officially reopening Exeter Library. We feel like a Royal Reading Revolution could be about to take place…

For more information on our work reading with children and young people, see our website and the Foundation Years Trust.


News from Nellibobs…

Nellibobs – a.k.a. Brian Nellist – is a busy man. When he’s not co-editing The Reader magazine, musing over the latest edition of Gardeners’ World, walking his beagle Argy or just making his way through a wealth of reading material, he can be found on YouTube with his special Friday Night Nellibobs videos, where he can be found pondering some of the greatest pieces of literature known to man (and indeed, woman).

If you’re an avid fan of the Godfather of The Reader Organisation, you’re in luck as he is about to host his latest Short Course for Serious Readers in Birkenhead. Far Places will embark on a journey of discovery through classic and contemporary literature to celebrate wanderlust as well as a sense of rootedness.

Far Places (Part 1) begins on Monday 29th September and runs every Monday from 10.30am-12.30pm at The Lauries Community Centre. The first part will focus especially on Homer’s Odyssey. Part 2 will be taking place in January 2015, discovering yet more great literature from authors including Shakespeare, Johnson, Graham Greene and Doris Lessing. Places on the course cost £65/£35 concessions (retired/student/unemployed/shared reading group member)there’s a special 10% discount available if you sign up for both September and January courses at the same time.

For more information and to book your place on Far Places with Brian Nellist, contact Jenny: or call 0151 207 7207. Details of all our upcoming courses can also be found on our website:

And as a special treat, here’s the latest edition of Friday Night with Nellibobs – here you’ll find Brian discussing two poems by Edward Thomas:


Short Courses for Serious Readers for the New Year

The last month of 2013 is racing along, with a New Year approaching fast – if you’re looking for a new start, why not discover classic literature in a different way, exploring it with like-minded company in relaxed surroundings? All this is available with The Reader Organisation’s Short Courses for Serious Readers – and we have not one but two special courses coming up for January.

short courseCan a Book Change your Life?
Saturday 18th January 2014, 10am-4pm, Calderstones Mansion House, Liverpool
Cost: £30 (including lunch)/£15 concessions

“I am lord of this moment’s change.” – Mordecai, in George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda

As a New Year approaches, resolutions and new beginnings are large in our minds. January is a time where ideas of change are all around us – but what do we really mean by the word ‘change’ and can a book help us to do this?
In this special day-long Saturday Short Course on 18th January at Calderstones Mansion House, The Reader Organisation’s Literary Learning Manager Casi Dylan will read a selection of prose and poetry which will help us to think about change and the forces it brings about.

Reading Anna Karenina with Brian Nellist
10 week course, starting Monday 6th January 2014, 10.30am-12pm, The Lauries Community Centre, Birkenhead
£65/£35 concessions 

“All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow.”

anna-kareninaHave you always wanted to read Anna Karenina but never found the right time? Perhaps you’re a long-time fan but want the opportunity to explore it further? No matter what your relationship is with this classic novel, join co-editor of The Reader magazine and Godfather of TRO Brian Nellist to explore the saga. Over 10 weeks starting on 6th January in Birkenhead, you’ll be able to read Tolstoy’s classic work slowly, alongside a selection of poems and short stories, with a friendly group of readers.

Make it your New Year’s resolution to enjoy great literature and get 2014 off to a Readerly start. To book your place on either of these Short Courses for Serious Readers, contact Literary Learning Coordinator Sophie Johnson: or call 0151 207 7229

For all the information on what’s coming up on our Literary Learning calendar, see the Courses section of our website:

Middlemarch with Brian Nellist

middlemarch-21Short Courses for Serious Readers: Middlemarch with Brian Nellist
Starts Monday 30th September 2013 for 10 weeks
10.30am-12.30pm, The Lauries Community Centre, Birkenhead

Has Middlemarch been on your must-read list for years? Want to give one of English literature’s finest classics a try but been put off by its length? Perhaps you’re a die-hard Eliot fan who would love the opportunity for a re-read…

No matter what your experience with the novel, get a new perspective on it by coming to our latest Short Course for Serious Readers this Autumn. Led by Brian Nellist, co-editor of The Reader and inspiration to Merseyside readers for many years, this special course offers the chance to read one of literature’s greatest sagas slowly, in the company of a congenial group of fellow readers. Over ten weeks you’ll get to enjoy Middlemarch alongside some specially chosen poems and short stories, and with Brian’s expert guidance dive deep into the best that literature can offer.

Sessions begin on Monday 30th September – the perfect way to get Autumn off to a Readerly start. The course costs £65 per 10 sessions or £35 for Get Into Reading members/students/pensioners/income support.

If you book on this and the accompanying Anna Karenina Short Course now, you’ll get a 10% discount on the price of both courses.

Texts, refreshments and good company will be provided!

To reserve your place on the Middlemarch Short Course for Serious Readers, contact Literary Learning Coordinator Sophie Johnson on or 0151 207 7207.

For information on all of our upcoming Courses, see our website.