'Get Into Reading' for innovative adult learning
Participants in the pioneering ‘Get Into Reading’ groups in oxfordshire have been reaping the benefits of exposure to stimulating and challenging literature. The groups, run by Oxfordshire Mind and Oxfordshire County Council, and funded by The Transformation Fund, have been benefitting people from all walks of life, with a myriad of different reasons for getting involved. Even if reading is not a strong point, people are welcome to listen to the books being read aloud. There is no pressure, it is purely about enjoying, and learning from, literature.
Get into Reading is an innovative approach to therapy that can have enormous benefits on people’s self esteem, confidence, self-expression and general mental wellbeing. Adam Clayton recently co-facilitated a 10 week Get Into Reading Group in Oxford, attended by 20 people, and commented on how the sessions “help people gain in confidence, noticeably contributing more as they attended more group sessions. It boosts people’s self esteem to know that they are part of something, and they get a chance to read things that they would never have chosen otherwise.” One participant commented: “I found I left sessions feeling connected, stimulated and more alive somehow”, whilst another spoke how the sessions “got to the guts of life” through reading.
Reading groups meet for 10 weekly sessions, and new groups for 2010 will be taking place in Banbury, Witney and Abingdon. Groups so far have been structured around the reading of a short story such as Markheim by Robert Louis Stevenson and Tea with the Birds by Joanne Harris, followed by a poem such as The Lake Isle of Innisfree by W.B.Yeats and In Your Mind by Carol Anne Duffy. Anyone wishing to read aloud will take it in turn to read passages of text, before pausing at an appropriate point for a re-cap and group discussion. The groups are relaxed and sociable in a safe and welcoming environment that invites discussion over the participants’ interpretations of the text. There is no pressure to contribute, people are welcome to simply sit and absorb the discussion.
The new project will be coordinated by Oxfordshire Mind with other partners including Restore, the Oxfordshire PCT, the County Library Service and the Reader Organisation (Liverpool University) who have pioneered the approach. The Department of health are very interested in the benefits of Get into Reading as a therapeutic intervention, with this recent comment from Professor Louis Appleby (National Director of Mental Health) “Get Into Reading is exactly the kind of work we at the Department of Health want to Develop over the next 10 years – facing outward into the wider community and looking after the mental health and wellbeing of the general population.”
For more information, contact Oxfordshire Mind on 01865 263730 or visit www.oxfordshire-mind.org.uk
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