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

Celebrating World Read Aloud Day and World Book Day

Last week was a particularly Readerly one as two back-to-back dates in the calendar gave us lots to celebrate.

Wednesday saw the annual global celebration of reading aloud, World Read Aloud Day. The Reader Organisation was proud to be a WRADvocate of World Read Aloud Day for the fourth year and marked the day by reading aloud with hundreds of people across the country in our shared reading groups. Reading aloud is a wonderful way of bringing communities together to share in emotional, deeply human and connecting experiences and nowhere are we better encapsulating that ethos than at Calderstones Mansion House, where we are creating an International Centre for Reading.

Elsewhere in Merseyside, our volunteers from the Merseyside Volunteer Reader Scheme, funded by the Big Lottery Fund, shared what reading aloud means to them, in words that made us feel truly inspired. Some of the wonderful comments can be found below:

WRAD responses 1

 

“Reading aloud is…: pleasurable…a good way to gain confidence…people sharing their own experience…so enjoyable with a participating audience…a caress.”

“Reading aloud makes me feel…: involved…so much more aware of the power of a poem…alive…better.”

Our Readers on Twitter also shared in the World Read Aloud Day excitement:

I didn’t know such a day existed! So much poetry is only truly appreciated when you taste it on your tongue. I’m in! #WRAD15

‘The Listeners’ by Walter de la Mare is my favourite poem to read aloud! Reminds me of primary school- lovely memories #WRAD15

“Reading aloud makes me…want to be the voice of an audio book.” #WRAD15

The fun didn’t stop as we went straight into World Book Day on Thursday. We celebrated in style with City of Readers in a bookish extravaganza for younger bookworms at Calderstones Mansion, full of reading and crafty fun with create-your-own-book-covers. Our top three reads were also featured as part of Liverpool’s favourite books as compiled by the Liverpool Echo, sitting alongside such names as Ricky Tomlinson, Kevin Sampson, Peter Hooton and Kim Cattrall. Can you guess which trio we might have chosen? Take a look at Liverpool’s literature picks here.

 

Happy World Read Aloud Day!

Today is the day when people across the world unite to celebrate World Read Aloud Day, an occasion to celebrate the power and pleasure that reading aloud can provide. The Reader Organisation is a WRADvocate Partner of World Read Aloud Day 2014, and along with the other partners and founder of WRAD LitWorld, we’re encouraging everyone to read aloud to help change the world.

You can read our story of reading aloud on the World Read Aloud Day blog: http://litworld.org/worldreadalouddayblog/2014/2/26/reading-aloud-is-better-than-in-your-head.html

“Reading aloud is better than in your head. It’s like you’re on an adventure, you can understand more aloud.”

We’re celebrating reading aloud all year round, in our shared reading groups and as part of City of Readers, an initiative by Liverpool Learning Partnership to get people of all ages all across Liverpool reading for pleasure. We’ve been counting down some of our favourite read aloud videos from the City of Readers YouTube channel to get us into the read aloud spirit, and today we have a special treat of one of our favourite stories to share, from our recent Half Term Hijinks at Calderstones Mansion House:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIo0MKij_2A]

Perhaps The Gruffalo is one of the stories you’ll read aloud for World Read Aloud Day? If you’re struggling to make a choice, then there are lots of gems in our anthologies, A Little, Aloud and A Little, Aloud for ChildrenAll the stories and poems included have been specially selected for their read-aloud qualities, and are accompanied by reading times for each piece and suggestions of further reading. From Roald Dahl to Dickens, Jane Eyre to The Jumblies, there’s something for everyone to enjoy reading aloud. You can purchase your copy of both anthologies on our website: http://www.thereader.org.uk/anthologies.aspx

Whatever you’re reading today, make sure you do so aloud! You can follow the hashtag #WRAD to get involved in all the World Read Aloud Day celebrations.

World Read Aloud Day 2014: The countdown is on

There’s less than two weeks to go until World Read Aloud Day, the worldwide celebration of reading aloud headed by LitWorld. The Reader Organisation is proud to be taking part as a WRADvocate Partner of World Read Aloud Day 2014, and we’re counting down to the big day by showcasing a selection of people who love to read aloud.

You can be a part of our World Read Aloud Day celebrations by filming yourself reading something you love aloud and sending it to us to show the world your passion for reading. It’s easy to do – just make a recording (between 2 and 25 minutes long), save it as a .wav file, include your details and a photo of yourself and send it to us by contacting bethpochin@thereader.org.uk. We’ll add you to our online reading hall of fame as we help Liverpool Learning Partnership create a City of Readers.

From today until World Read Aloud Day, we’re getting into the read aloud spirit by sharing some of the brilliant read aloud videos we’ve already gathered online. The first we’re sharing here on The Reader Online, but for the rest you’ll need to check our Twitter page to get the full reading aloud countdown.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDMNDSKLK-8&w=420&h=315]

Celebrating reading aloud on World Read Aloud Day 2014

child readingOne of our favourite days is fast approaching – World Read Aloud Day 2014 is happening on Wednesday 5th March, rallying the whole world to come together and share the joy of reading aloud to show that everyone has the right to read, sharing their voices and stories to change the world. The Reader Organisation is delighted to be linking up with LitWorld as a WRADvocate Partner for World Read Aloud Day 2014, celebrating the pleasure and power of reading aloud on a global scale.

At the heart of all of our shared reading groups and activities happening each week, for young people and adults alike, is a focus on reading for pleasure and meaning in a relaxed, informal and friendly environment. Reading aloud is a key element of all of our shared reading groups: not only is an experience created by bringing a story or poem alive in the room, but being able to read and listen to the literature allows us to relate on a deeper level, drawing human and emotional connections with the text and one another. Reading aloud is relaxing, empowering, socially connective and opens us up to other worlds.

“It’s even better than reading yourself – you’d miss things by yourself – but the big thing here is that when you read with a little group in a cosy atmosphere you pay more attention to the details, especially in poems. It’s great that we’re all individuals with different viewpoints on subjects, and that also triggers new ideas in yourself – you get different angles from other people, so it’s a very interactive experience of books.” – shared reading group member

“If you read by yourself, you only get your own interpretation of the book. If you read with other people and talk about what you’re reading you get other people’s interpretations of the books as well, which is always more interesting as it makes you look at things in a way that you wouldn’t by yourself necessarily. Everyone brings their own experiences to the book.” – shared reading group member

So how are we celebrating World Read Aloud Day?

G31A7173On the day itself, we have a number of our open community shared reading groups running in Liverpool, Wigan, Wirral, the South West and London (in Kensington and Chelsea and South London). Come along and enjoy a good read, read out loud. There’s no pressure to join in the reading; listening is just as good. Find a full list of our open groups happening on World Read Aloud Day on our website: http://www.thereader.org.uk/reading-with-us

We’ll be sharing stories from our group members about how reading aloud has had an impact on their lives, as well as their reading choices;

We’re also building up a whole YouTube channel of reading aloud alongside Liverpool Learning Partnership in their City of Readers project. There’s already a ton of great videos up there, with readers sharing their favourite stories and poems aloud from a wide range of literature, and in the days leading up to World Read Aloud Day we’ll be showcasing a video a day from the City of Readers channel on social media, counting down to a wonderful day of reading aloud.

For World Read Aloud Day we’d love for you to share your own favourite with us aloud, by filming your selection and sending it to us for inclusion on the City of Readers YouTube channel. All you need to do is record yourself reading, save your video as a .wav file and send it through to us by e-mailing bethpochin@thereader.org.uk. You can read anything from 2 to 25 minutes long, and please include your details and photo so we can make you one of our read aloud stars!

Why not let us know how you’ll celebrating World Read Aloud Day by commenting here, or sharing your stories of reading aloud with us on Twitter or Facebook.

You find out more about World Read Aloud Day and sign up to participate on LitWorld’s website: http://litworld.org/worldreadaloudday

2013 at The Reader Organisation: A Year in Review Part 1

Calderstones Mansion House c Dave JonesIt’s been another remarkable year for the reading revolution and certainly one to remember as we began to set up home in our latest base, Calderstones Mansion House. So much has happened in the space of 12 months it’s almost hard to believe there has been time to fit everything in, so here’s the Reader Review of the first six months of 2013. More to follow tomorrow…

January

The year got off to an incredible start as TRO was awarded preferred bidder status for Calderstones Mansion House, Coach House and Stable Yard at Calderstones Park, Liverpool. Our vision for Calderstones is a community for everyone with reading at its heart, and we’re already building up the foundations of the future International Centre for Reading and Wellbeing at Calderstones with our shared reading and community event activity.

Scans of brain activity show intense electrical activity when reading challenging literature
Scans of brain activity show intense electrical activity when reading challenging literature

The work of the Centre for Research into Reading, Information and Linguistic Systems (CRILS) attracted global attention with research headed by Professor Phil Davis finding that reading serious literature ‘acts like a rocket-booster to the brain’, and Read to Lead moved further afield with its first Belgian course. Reading aloud was also signified as the latest trend in an article in the Observer, which mentioned the work of TRO.

February

There was more press coverage of shared reading, this time in The Guardian as journalist Lynsey Hanley spoke about our work alongside her own experiences of finding support in fiction.

A very regal twist took place as we brought Read to Lead to Kensington Palace. Shared reading for the Queen? It could happen one day…

March

Eamee's awardThe Flemish reading revolution continued as Jane appeared at the Mind The Book festival in Antwerp, and one of our Wirral Apprentices Eamee was shortlisted for the Liverpool City Region Apprenticeship Awards, making it through a competitive shortlist to the final three for the Wirral region. Congratulations Eamee!

Elsewhere we celebrated World Read Aloud Day doing what we do best – need we say any more?

April

G31A6964After a good old tidy and the placing of some Readerly touches – including lots of cake – we opened the doors to Calderstones Mansion House for two public open days, inviting people to Connect With Us at Calderstones. We were expecting a few hundred – an amazing 1,200 people came to the Mansion House and shared their hopes, dreams and memories with us.

Our very first Shared Reading Practitioner Day happened in Liverpool, bringing qualified shared reading practitioners from across the UK together for a day of thinking, learning and, of course, reading, and we were delighted to be part of the wonderful World Book Night celebrations both as a book giver and at the Liverpool flagship event at St George’s Hall.

May

Jane and Andy 2 72dpiShared Reading for Healthy Communities, The Reader Organisation’s fourth annual conference took place in London, for a day full of considering how shared reading can contribute to building stronger, healthier and more connected communities. We welcomed our largest number of delegates to date to The British Library for a varied range of seminars and enlightening contributions from Andy Burnham MP, Professor Louis Appleby, Alan Yates and some of our shared reading group members.

There was more exciting development news as TRO was selected as one of the thirty winners of the Big Venture Challenge 2013 and teamed up with the Verbal Arts Centre in Northern Ireland, and our Reading in Secure Environments (RISE) project continued in Liverpool with visits from award winning poets John Burnside and Rita Ann Higgins.

Our first shared reading groups also got underway at Calderstones Mansion House.

June

Issue 50 cover online versionIt was a celebratory month as the beautiful, bumper 50th issue of The Reader magazine came off the press. Wishing us a happy birthday with new content were David Constantine, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Blake Morrison and Les Murray amongst many others, and we also delved into the Reader archives for a selection of gems from the previous issues. The issue received international acclaim, being called ‘magnificently rich‘ by American review website New Pages.

Jane was shortlisted alongside another inspirational Liverpool woman, Josephine Butler, at the Addidi Inspiration Awards, we brought RISE to London and Reading and read for wellbeing at the Southbank Centre, and as an organisation TRO received the PQASSO Level 1 Quality Mark.

Come back tomorrow for our Reader Review of 2013 Part 2: July-December.

Happy World Read Aloud Day 2013!

Today – Wednesday 6th March – is the big day: World Read Aloud Day 2013.

The Reader Organisation is proud to be a WRADvocate partner of World Read Aloud Day, celebrating the pleasures of reading aloud every day of the year. Today, we’re encouraging everyone to read something aloud today, be it a few lines from a poem or a short story, to help raise the voices of those throughout the world who are unable to do so.

This year’s World Read Aloud Day theme is ‘Read It Forward‘. To mark this, some of our Readers are reading something special from A Little, Aloud for Children forward…enjoy (and we hope they inspire you to Read It Forward too)!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HD7oKXW4yaM]

Why not tell us on Twitter and Facebook what you’ll be reading aloud today for World Read Aloud Day?

Get ready for World Read Aloud Day 2013

litworldwrad13badgeThere’s just over a week to go until World Read Aloud Day 2013, a day to truly celebrate everything about reading and reading aloud. As advocates of reading aloud – a special act that really does make a difference in many ways – The Reader Organisation is proud to support World Read Aloud Day 2013 alongside its founders LitWorld. Once more, we’re getting involved with World Read Aloud Day by being a WRADvocate Partner, and we’re honoured to help spread the word about reading aloud not just for one day, but all year round.

The theme of this year’s World Read Aloud Day, held on Wednesday 6th March, is ‘Read It Forward’, and readers around the world are being encouraged to do exactly that, reading stories and poems aloud with loved ones, family members, friends and colleagues for their own enjoyment, and also on behalf of the 793 million people worldwide who cannot read. All you need to take part in World Read Aloud Day is a favourite book or poem which you can read aloud with pride, and Read It Forward to those closest to you. There’s bound to be tons of those amongst all of you – why not let us know what you’ll be choosing to read this World Read Aloud Day?

Through Get Into Reading and other projects, we’re reading aloud with hundreds of people each week, letting many find their voices through a range of texts and discovering the true pleasures of reading aloud. Reading aloud lets us share our love of reading, and makes stories grow within readers themselves, as our group members have found to their own amazement:

‘When you hear the voices, I like how you can tell what they’re really feeling.’

‘The story being read out loud means that you don’t miss anything, it makes everything alive in the room.’

“It boosts your confidence, reading out loud. You get more confidence. I think we have.”

We’ll certainly be reading aloud this World Read Aloud Day, and hope you will too!

World Read Aloud Day

As followers of The Reader Organisation’s Reading Revolution will be aware, a very important part of what we do is reading aloud with people. There is something inherently special about reading aloud which allows literature to come to life, resonate and connect us more closely with texts and others around us. That’s why we’re especially happy to note that today is World Read Aloud Day.

The fact remains that across the world there are at least 793 million people who are illiterate, shut off from the world of wonder reading holds. LitWorld, a global literacy organisation based in New York, founded World Read Aloud Day in March 2010 as an awareness movement advocating literacy as a fundamental right that belongs to all people, but also as a day to motivate children, teenagers and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another. Since it was founded, World Read Aloud Day has gone from strength to strength; last year, World Read Aloud Day was celebrated in 60 countries and involved 200,000 participants. This year, the aim is to reach a million participants or more around the world, creating a global community of readers that educate, advocate and innovate when it comes to reading aloud, highlighting everyone’s right to access books.

For The Reader Organisation, reading aloud is not just a way of getting around problems with reading: it is a highly enriching experience in its own right, generating particular and unique responses amongst individuals and groups. Experiences that were individual are opened up, leading to reading becoming a rich, communal experience that addresses the most basic of our human needs.

We are delighted to celebrate World Read Aloud Day by becoming a WRADvocate Partner of World Read Aloud Day for 2012, joining a worldwide community of brilliant organisations advocating reading aloud for everyone.

We’re also celebrating through the launch of our latest Evening Read-In, the read-aloud-and-along shared reading event held on our social media networks which takes reading aloud to a worldwide scale, tomorrow evening.

Make sure you mark World Read Aloud Day by reading something aloud to someone you love and help spread the word about the importance of reading aloud.