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National Storytelling Week 2013

Written by Lisa Spurgin, 23rd January 2013

National Storytelling Week 2013 begins this coming Saturday, 26th January - the annual celebration of storytelling within communities, encouraging people of all ages and in all areas to share stories old and new that give a twinkle to the eye, raise a question in the mind and feed the imagination from one generation to the next. Throughout National Storytelling Week, our over 350 Get Into Reading groups running across the UK will be sharing stories in libraries, community centres, schools, supermarkets, hospitals and a range of other settings, as they do every week, to connect people with great literature and each other, keeping many a great story alive and bringing a fair few new meanings to them too.

For the third year running, Bupa Care Homes is supporting National Storytelling Week. Care homes across the UK will be hosting special reading events, and is inviting anyone within the community who enjoys storytelling to go along and join in the fun.

The Reader Organisation is backing Bupa Care Homes in its storytelling initiative for National Storytelling Week 2013, as our work sharing reading with older people in care homes continues. We have worked closely with Bupa, developing Get Into Reading pilot projects in a number of care homes in Liverpool and London in 2011, and from May-November 2012 delivered a six month Get Into Reading project in Glasgow: Hill View in Dalmuir, Golf Hill in Denniston and Mill View in Barrhead, which aimed to offer an enjoyable and beneficial experience to older adults living with dementia. Recent evaluation has shown that the project has been a real success, with beneficial effects upon residents, as well as staff who took part in training, family members and friends. The collective impact upon residents taking part in reading groups demonstrated improved results:

  • 90%  mood improved during the reading group
  • 89%  benefited from improved levels of concentration
  • 84%  level of social interaction increased

Such findings bring the project firmly in line with the Centre for Research into Reading, Information and Linguistic Systems (CRILS) report, 'A Literature-Based Intervention for Older People Living With Dementia', published last year (available to download on our website).

Residents, staff and family members also noted how the sharing of stories benefitted relationships, interaction and community, and their own personal enjoyment:

"you come together, you join together with these people, these nice people, listen to their stories. You can add something to that, the memories remind me of other things I have read.”

"When you are in that situation, reading with them, the residents just seem to really come to life"

"I get to spend time with my dad and see him enjoying himself with others. Even though he doesn’t remember that much, I still get to hear what he thinks about things and I get to do something different and share it with him."

The Get Into Reading pilot project with Bupa Care Homes is testament to the ways in which stories and poetry has a positive effect on older people's state of mind, and so we're pleased to support their initiative for National Storytelling Week as a fantastic way of getting others to join in with a simple, yet therapeutic, pastime. As well as the various storytelling events that are happening in care homes, Bupa Care Homes has also launched a competition across its care homes to find the best book cover designed by residents.

If you are interested in attending or taking part in a Bupa Storytelling event for National Storytelling Week 2013, please call 0845 600 4622 or e-mail

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