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The Reader Organisation and Forum Housing: One Year On!

Written by The Reader, 23rd October 2012

In September 2011, The Reader Organisation entered into a ground-breaking collaboration with Forum Housing in Wirral, the first Get Into Reading commission with a housing association, reading with young mums and their babies and young people with vulnerable mental health and also training staff to use shared reading as part of their jobs. To celebrate a year's worth of brilliant work, a party took place last month (we had a lot to celebrate in Sep10ber), co-hosted by Chris Allen and Jane herself. There was even more reason to celebrate at the bash as Chris Allen officially confirmed that Forum have recomissioned the project for another year, which is fantastic news.

Here with all the highlights of the party is Amanda Boston, Reader-in-Residence with Forum Housing:

In attendance were over 40 Forum staff and residents who enjoyed an evening which included a film showcasing the year, readings from residents and staff and the presentation of certificates. Highlights of the evening included Georgie Jones reading her poem, What is Beauty. Georgie has started writing poetry inspired by her attendance at Forum’s The Lock reading group in Ellesmere Port. Another member of that group, Sara Powell, told the audience of her enthusiasm for shared reading and how much she had enjoyed our outing to see the National Theatre play based on The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. The group had read the Mark Haddon novel together over 4 months.

The youngest guest at the celebration was baby Caleb, pictured in the photo with his mum Steph and dad Cory. Caleb has been coming to the reading group at The Beacon in Rock Ferry for over 4 months and as well as enjoying Incy Wincy Spider has enjoyed a group reading of Romeo and Juliet. As Cory says: “Reading aloud for someone you care for is amazing.”

The Reader Organisation and Forum’s innovative partnership has engaged over 70 young people in reading great literature aloud together over the last 12 months. Young parents and their children, residents, and staff have all participated in the group sessions, building self-confidence, self-awareness and contributing to a vibrant reading community.

On a personal note, it has been great fun, a great challenge and a great privilege working and reading with the staff and residents of Forum as Reader in Residence for a day w eek since September 2011. I am looking forward to the next year of this exciting partnership.

To show how much of an impact shared reading is making at Forum, here's a Reader story from one of the group members:

I think literature is something that is less appreciated these days but something I think people should be encouraged to do. Many people may not realise the amazing stories and adventures that are waiting in word form.

Shared reading really grasps these ideas and promotes important learning but is actually really fun. It inspired me to write poems and I discovered some great works of art.

I would definitely recommend shared reading to residents as it opens your mind and improves spelling and grammar without you even noticing.

May the shared reading success at Forum continue!

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