The Reader 66

My oh my have we got a cracking magazine for you this quarter! The summer edition is out now, jam-packed with fantastic new writing, powerful personal essays and all the latest Reader thinking.

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Yours Magazine: The woman leading a quiet reading revolution

“Reading changed my life. It gives you a bit of space; it’s an escape into a place where you can imagine yourself different.”

The Reader’s founder and director Jane Davis speaks to Carole Richardson for Yours Magazine Wonder Women series.

Published Tuesday 18 July. Read the full interview here.

Jane’s Blog: Later life, running and reading

A look back at a piece from our founder and director Jane Davis from earlier this year. We were delighted to welcome Parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt to Calderstones in March, Jane reflected on his visit on her blog, starting as always with the daily poem:

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Reading Groups, Communities & Libraries – An exploratory study

Published last month, the study explores the important role reading groups, such as Shared Reading, play in library and community services.

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The Reader 64

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Winter’s chill may not have the same bite as we might have expected but there’s plenty to chew on in the latest issue of The Reader.

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Valuing Workplace Well-being

Inspired by her fellow speakers at the Wellbeing at Work conference in London last week, our founder and director Jane Davis has been considering how Shared Reading can create better workplace well-being.

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Announcing an exciting new partnership with Oxford University Press

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We’re delighted to introduce our brand new partners, OUP!

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The Reader 63

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The weather is turning, the leaves are falling, Autumn is most certainly upon us and with a new season comes a new edition of The Reader Magazine. Introducing Issue 63.

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Jane Davis joins The Happy List 2015!

Jane Davis High ResWe’re feeling particularly happy today as Jane Davis, our Founder and Director, has made it onto the Independent on Sunday’s Happy List 2015!

The IoS Happy List was set up in 2008 to recognise and celebrate people who enrich the lives of others and make Britain a happier and more caring place to be. From charity fundraisers and founders to teachers, emergency service workers and community heroes, the Happy List features those who have made an extraordinary effort within their local communities and beyond for no personal gain, giving back to others instead. What makes the Happy List so special is that the nominations are made entirely by the public and readers of the Independent on Sunday.

As Founder of The Reader Organisation, Jane has pioneered the practice of shared reading as a way not only to experience the emotional power but also the sheer pleasure that comes from reading great literature aloud, together. From setting up the first ever shared reading group in Birkenhead in 2002, hundreds of groups now run across the UK reaching people of all ages, backgrounds and circumstances.  The combination of the texts read, a relaxed and informal atmosphere and being in the company of others on a regular weekly basis – as well as the additional treats of tea and biscuits – make the groups beneficial to many of our members, giving a boost to wellbeing and confidence as well as fostering new friendships.

‘I don’t know what it is but after this group I always leave feeling better. It’s like a life tonic.’

‘Shared reading is like sitting around a fire and telling stories to each other – a way of binding us together.’

– shared reading group members

Jane Louise moneyShared reading brings many happy moments to our Readers each week, but what is it that makes Jane happy? Getting out and admiring the blooms around our HQ at Calderstones Park is near the top of the list, and earlier this week she was joined on one of her walks by Louise Jones, a long-time group member. Louise gave Jane the remarkable news that since Jane announced her goal to get fit and raise money for the Calderstones Mansion project she has saved up £1 a week to put towards the fund. Not only that, but she presented Jane with the money that she has generously saved. A wonderful gesture which will go towards giving future generations a happy, welcoming and vibrant place to call a home from home. There’s still time to be part of the last push – you can sponsor Jane’s efforts by visiting her fundraising page.

The Happy List 2015 is available in full in today’s Independent on Sunday, and online. All the chosen 100 Happy Listers will be invited to a celebratory reception hosted in their honour by luxury hotel group Grange Hotels in central London this summer, and there’s even more exciting news ahead as every individual featured on the Happy List will also receive the accolade of being put forward for special recognition at the JustGiving 2015 Awards.

For more ways to feel happy, visit the dedicated Happy List digital hub: http://www.independent.co.uk/happylist/ and see @happylist100. Remember, you can always pop into one of our open shared reading groups around the UK too: see the full, up-to-date list on our website: http://www.thereader.org.uk/reading-with-us

Jane Davis becomes a UK Ashoka Fellow

The Reader Organisation Jane Davis 72 dpiCongratulations to Founder and Director of The Reader Organisation Jane Davis, who has been officially launched as a 2014 Ashoka Fellow. At an inspiring ceremony in London last week, Jane was welcomed into the Ashoka Fellowship network along with five other Fellows who are leading the way in making a personal drive to change the systems within which they work to solve social and environmental issues.

Ashoka is best-known as the leading global network of social entrepreneurs, existing to grow the impact that is made by social entrepreneurs and with the aim of getting closer to a world where everyone is a changemaker. There are currently more than 3,000 Ashoka Fellows in over 80 nations across five continents, with 56% of Fellows having so far effected a national public policy change. Each year hundreds of nominations for potential candidates are received by Ashoka, with elections made by the criteria of New Idea, Social Impact, Entrepreneuralism, Creativity and Ethical Fibre.

Ashoka LogoJane was handpicked to become one of the new UK Ashoka Fellows earlier this year, the first to be based in the North of the country. Jane was chosen for the pioneering practice of shared reading being a therapeutic tool which helps to tackle the problems of isolation and loneliness in an increasingly individualised society. Through the reading of great literature people are able to articulate their feelings and thoughts, improving wellbeing and building community.

Prior to her official launch, in September this year Jane was made the Ashoka Fellow of the Month; you can read Jane’s personal Story of Change on the Ashoka UK website, including how a novel by the late Doris Lessing transformed her view of the world overnight: http://uk.ashoka.org/spotlight-jane-davis

We’re incredibly proud of Jane to receive such an honour, increasing the effort of change that shared reading is making day by day on a national and potentially international scale. Congratulations to all the new Ashoka UK Fellows as we head into a new year filled with the great potential to make a change.

Take a look at the pictures from the Ashoka UK Fellows Induction ceremony on the Ashoka UK Facebook page and find out more about Ashoka on their Twitter: @AshokaUK