Taking Shared Reading to new heights

Snowdon 3It was William Blake in his Poetical Works who said “Great things are done when Men and Mountains meet/This is not Done by jostling in the Street”. A great thing was certainly done on Sunday 20th September when the highest shared reading group in Wales – and England – took place at the summit of Mount Snowdon.

We’re always game for a challenge at The Reader, as well as constantly seeking to take shared reading to new places never before ventured. Earlier this year our North Wales team began to plan for the intrepid adventure, taking into account important things such as logistics, weather and the various safety concerns that come with reading upon the 1,085m peak of the highest point in the British Isles outside of the Scottish Highlands. The shared reading group members, volunteers and Reader staff were gathered and briefed and finally, a date in September was settled upon. Early Autumn would surely provide dry and fairly sunny conditions to enjoy the group reading as well as the breathtaking views…

Setting off on the Snowdon Mountain Railway
Setting off on the Snowdon Mountain Railway

Unfortunately the British weather couldn’t be as well organised as the rest of the trip, and our band of brave Readers were met with wet, windy and foggy conditions at the top of the mountain. Luckily they were able to remain dry for the majority of the journey, boarding the Snowdon Mountain Railway and warming up with a selection of poems before making it triumphant – if a little weather-worn – to the summit.

For such a momentous occasion, the choice of poem to read aloud became all the more significant. There are plenty of Welsh literary greats who would have proved fitting, but we had to plump for a poem written about the most difficult route to the summit of Mount Snowdon. Even if our team of mountaineers didn’t tread the path of Crib Goch, the readings of Y Grib Goch in Welsh by T. Rowland Hughes and the English translation Crib Goch by Catherine Fisher captured the spirit, history and atmosphere atop the peak, as well as signifying the true versatility of shared reading – there really is a suitable poem for every occasion! On the way back down the mountain, there was more group shared reading in store to celebrate a successful attempt with euphoria and a sense of achievement running high.

The journey, as well as the stirring bilingual readings, were captured on camera for those of us with our feet firmly on ground level terrain to enjoy:

Enjoying a spot of shared reading to warm up for the summit
Enjoying a spot of shared reading to warm up for the summit

A mountain-sized thanks goes to our North Wales Project Coordinator Jeanette who had the tricky task of organising the expedition against all the adversities, making sure the day was both safe and successful for everyone involved. The group has been submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest shared reading group to have ever taken place, so we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed that we can be recognised as a record breaker.

Jeanette also made the airwaves before leading our band of Readers up into the air, speaking to Wynne Jones on his Big Welsh Weekend show on BBC Radio Wales about the expedition. Listen from 47 minutes 30 seconds in: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06b3jxl (27 days left to listen)

Llongyfarchiadau to everyone involved!

DSC_0063_1

DSC_0071_1

DSC_0078_1

DSC_0095_1

Make Friends with a Book in North Wales

waleslogoIn October last year, The Reader Organisation received over £236,000 from Big Lottery Wales to take shared reading into the fourth corner of the UK. Our specially recruited North Wales team have been hard at work preparing and now we’re excited to say that the Reading Revolution is coming to life in North Wales.

Over the next three years, we’re developing a shared reading project across the region, establishing over 30 groups in a variety of settings throughout the community for people of all ages and in both English and Welsh. The Make Friends with a Book project begins in September with the first shared reading groups running weekly in libraries in Holywell, Llanberis, Llanrwst and Penrhyn. In the coming months there will be more groups set up across North Wales, so if you’re in the area keep your eyes peeled…

Cup of tea and a storyHowever, if you’re aged 11-13 and live in Bangor you don’t have to wait to start sharing reading as there’s a group running just for you each Monday afternoon, 4.45-6pm in Bangor Library. Round off your summer with some great stories – and once school is in again, the group keeps going so there’s no need to miss out.

The new Make Friends with a Book groups in North Wales are as follows:

  • Holywell Library, Flintshire – Mondays, 12-1.15pm from 2nd September 2013
  • Llanberis Library, Llanberis  – Mondays, 3-4.30pm (after school group for children aged 7-11) from 16th September 2013 (NB: This group will be through the medium of Welsh)
  • Llanrwst Library, Gwynedd – Mondays, 3.30-5pm from 16th September 2013
  • Penrhyn Bay Library, Penrhyn Bay – Thursdays, 10-11.30am from 19th September 2013
  • Rhyl Library, Rhyl – Thursdays, 1.30-3pm from 17th October 2013
  • Bangor Library – Mondays, 4.45-6pm (for children aged 11-13)

Our North Wales team will also be at this year’s Gladfest at Gladstone’s Library, Hawarden, running shared reading taster sessions for 6-10 year olds on Saturday 7th September at 11.30am and 1.30pm.

You can find out more about our project in North Wales on our website, and head to our Reading With Us group map for updates on community groups in the area.