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Get Into Reading at the START Centre

Written by Chris Routledge, 10th September 2008

Last Friday I went along to the START centre in Salford to observe my first Get Into Reading session. I was more excited than nervous – just raring to go and get reading. I had heard Amanda Brown, who was to lead the session, reading at my training day in August, so knew that whatever happened I’d be in for a good story well told. 

As we paused a few pages into Jane Gardam’s short story, The Pangs of Love, I was really impressed and pleased by the group’s readiness to discuss the piece. The story dealt with ideas concerning feminism and male and female roles both in myth and modern society – something that everyone in room related to on one level or another. Two members of the group, Sam and Jill, were very well read and suggested further reading on these subjects themselves. It was also a joy to see Richard, who did not have the same background in reading as the others, tripping over himself to get to read the next passage. We all shared a good laugh over Gardam’s irreverent perspective on Hans Christian Anderson’s Little Mermaid (the handsome Prince is ‘good in the bath’ rather than bed!) and really got into character whilst reading U A Fanthorpe’s Not My Best Side. Jill’s young St George was particularly memorable. The poem also allowed discussion of Uccello’s painting Saint George and the Dragon, leaving us all feeling rather cultural all round!

The session also drove home to me how social the act of reading really is. As the group negotiated the pile of novels plonked before them in order to choose their reading for the next few weeks, the more experience members seemed to have made a conscious decision to choose a work that would appeal and be accessible to everyone involved. David Almond’s Skellig came out on top, a simple book with great depth, and something that will please Sam and Jill as well as Richard. 

I was as impressed with the people in my group as I was with the START centre itself; it seemed to be a warren of creativity. Around each corner was another group at work, another collage, another painting. Here’s to the new GIR group adding another splash of colour!

Posted by Casi Dylan

The Reader Organisation, which aims to put shared reading at the heart of everyday life, now runs ‘Read to Lead’ training programmes:

The ‘Read to Lead’ One-Day Workshop provides an introduction to the principles of ‘Get Into Reading’ for anyone interested in bibliotherapy.

The ‘Read to Lead’ Five-Day Accredited Facilitator Training is an intensive residential course intended for people who wish to become accredited Get Into Reading facilitators.


·         September Course: Sun 21st – Fri 26th September 2008 (Application Closed)

·         January Course: Sun 18th – Fri 23rd January 2009

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