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Happy Birthday Book Break!

Written by Lizzie Cain, 15th February 2013

Book Break, our Get Into Reading groups in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, are celebrating their 4th birthday this month! Project Worker and group facilitator Megg Hewlett shares the secrets of their success:

book flower teacup 72dpiIt is four years since the first Book Break shared reading groups began in Kensington and Chelsea.  Since then we’ve read with people in many settings including; libraries, hospitals, mental health services, schools, alcohol and drug services, community centres and workplaces.

Book Break is delivered by The Reader Organisation, an award winning social enterprise working to connect people with great literature and each other, in partnership with Kensington and Chelsea libraries.

We create places where personal responses to books are freely shared.  Our projects allow us to reach a diverse range of people, readers and non readers, extending the individual experience of literature and building strong mutually supportive communities that read together.

"You need it, you just don't know you need it."

Book Break groups are stimulating, friendly and non-pressured.  They provide stability, support and enjoyment. All texts are read aloud so anyonec. Maria Flores can get involved - readers and non readers alike

Groups are led by trained project workers and volunteers, meeting each week to read books and poems together in locations such as care homes, libraries, prisons, community centres, schools, hostels, refugee centres and workplaces. We read aloud, slowly, taking time over each text, allowing thoughts, connections and understanding to emerge.

“It’s not just about reading or getting to know the story. It’s about having our opinions about things as well.”

Members can choose to join in, or not, and at times the reading will stop to allow some talk about parts of the text, discussing what it might mean or reflecting on similar experiences of their own. The effects are subtle and profound.

“Sometimes you can see different people having different ideas. You take something one way and someone else might take it a different way, and it makes you think. You respect other people’s opinions.”

A relaxed, friendly atmosphere is created in each group. Over time, people build up a confidence that enables them to tell their own stories, as well as to forge close relationships with fellow readers.

For some readers, this prompts new aspirations, and the searching out of further learning and support that will help rebuild their lives. For others, their reading group is a lifeline, helping to keep them on a more even keel. For all, it is a regular lift each week.

It sets me up for the week”

Interested? Why not come along to one of our Book Break groups - all are welcome.

  • New Horizons (50+), Sloane Square SW3 2PF
    Monday 2-4pm
  • Chelsea Library, Kings Road SW3 5EZ
    Monday 6.15-7.45pm
  • Brompton Library SW5 0BS
    Tuesday 10.30am-12.30pm
  • Kensal Group @ St Charles Wellbeing Centre W10 6DZ
    Wednesday 10.30am-12pm
  • PCT Rooms 15 Chelsea Street/World's End SW10 0JN
    Wednesday 3.15-5pm
  • Book Break @ St Charles Wellbeing Centre W10 6DZ
    Thursday 10am-12pm
  • Latymer Centre 116 Bramley Road W10 6SU
    Thursday 1.30-3pm
  • Chelsea Library Kings Road SW3 5EZ
    Thursday 3-5pm

You can find the list of all our open Get Into Reading groups across the UK on our website.

This blog was originally posted on the RKBC Libraries blog.

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