Research and Impact

Shared Reading changes lives by improving well-being, reducing social isolation and building stronger communities. The Reader conducts regular evaluation and works closely with our research partner CRILS to explore the health, social and economic benefits of Shared Reading.

CRILS, The Centre for Research into Reading, Literature and Society are based at the University of Liverpool. They seek to set the world agenda in:

  • Reading, health and well-being
  • New digital technologies and the future of meaning
  • The role of literature in modelling creative thinking about human existence

In partnership with The Reader, CRILS have carried out extensive research into the impact of Shared Reading for those living with mental health issues, dementia or chronic pain. See below for a full list of published reports and research:

An Evaluation of a Pilot Study of a Literature-Based Intervention with Women in Prison

This study, carried out by the Centre for Research into Reading, Information and Linguistic Systems (CRILS) at the University of Liverpool, investigated the effect of Shared Reading on women in HMP Low Newton. Four significant areas of improved well-being were found: Social Well-being The group encouraged greater integration of women on the Personality Disorder wing, providing a …

An investigation into the therapeutic benefits of reading in relation to depression and well-being

This one-year research study concluded that Shared Reading groups helped patients suffering from depression in terms of their social, mental, emotional and psychological well-being. The clinical data indicated that statistically significant improvements in the mental health of depressed patients had occurred during the 12-month period in which they had attended reading groups. It found that there …

A Literature-Based Intervention for Older People Living with Dementia

Funded by the Headley Trust, the conclusions of this six-month study found that the literature-based intervention provided by Shared Reading produces a significant reduction in dementia symptoms and benefits the quality of life of both the residents and staff carers. The quantitative and qualitative research also found that short and long-term memory was positively influenced, …

An Evaluation of a Literature-Based Intervention for People with Chronic Pain

Conducted in partnership with researchers from CRILS, Health Sciences at University of Liverpool, The Royal Broadgreen NHS Hospital Trust and The Reader. Investigating whether Shared Reading as a literature-based intervention was beneficial for people with chronic pain when delivered in a clinical setting. The study demonstrates the positive impact of Shared Reading on pain and psychological well-being. People living …

Cultural Value: Assessing the intrinsic value of The Reader Organisation’s Shared Reading Scheme

Identifying the intrinsic value components of The Reader’s Shared Reading model as a specific participatory and voluntary experience, in creation of both individual meaningfulness and a strongly interactive small community. Also examined the relationship of this intrinsic value to collateral and secondary (theraputic, health, economic, social) benefits. The report found that the cultural value of Shared Reading …

Read to Care: An Investigation into Quality of Life Benefits of Shared Reading Groups for People Living with Dementia

Investigating the impact that engaging in Shared Reading group activity had on participants with mild to moderate dementia in four care homes across Wirral. The study paid particular consideration to: the use of powerfully emotional literature to trigger awakenings in people living with dementia; the value of literature in offering emotional experiences too often feared to be …

A Comparative Study of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Shared Reading for Chronic Pain

Comparing Shared Reading – The Reader’s literature-based intervention – to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as an intervention for chronic pain sufferers. The investigation explores: the degree to which CBT and Shared Reading offer alternative treatment methods for alleviating the psychological symptoms of chronic pain how far Shared Reading might complement CBT by providing less programmatic and …

What Literature Can Do: An investigation into the effectiveness of Shared Reading as a whole population health intervention

Investigating the impact of Shared Reading on mental health and well-being in the four boroughs of Croydon, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark.  One Shared Reading group member says that literature is not just “talking about” feelings, but actually “doing feelings” – getting into them and re-experiencing them in another form. Shared Reading is about re-experiencing life from off the page, and as …

Other Research

Reading and Talking: Exploring the experience of taking part in reading group at Vauxhall Health Care Centre

Robinson J. (2008) 

A Practice-informed Study of the Theoretical Bases for Bibliotherapy

Building on the University of Liverpool’s groundbreaking MA Reading in Practice, the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award partners us with CRILS and Mersey Care NHS Trust, this pioneering project explores the existing theoretical foundations for the practice of bibliotherapy, or ‘reading as cure’, in English literature. Read more

An evaluation of the social value of Get Into Reading initiative in Wirral, Merseyside

The Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University has analysed the social return on investment (SROI) for the Get Into Reading initiative in Wirral, Merseyside. When considering the impact of Shared Reading on the health and well-being of participants, the study found that for every £1 invested in Get Into Reading, an average …

Reading and Talking: Exploring the experience of taking part in reading groups at Walton Neuro-Rehabilitation Unit

Read the full report Robinson, J. (2008) 

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