“Shared reading is a wonderful way of meeting like-minded people. It’s a way of exploring different perspectives on life and appreciating different views”
Leicestershire group member
Photo courtesy of The Reader
Shared Reading groups bring people together through great literature to talk, laugh and share. We have serious conversation and good fun. Just drop in and enjoy listening to a story or poem – there's no homework, and no pressure to read or talk.
Shared reading is still here for you!
Our groups are continuing to meet, providing vital focus and connection for dozens of people every week. You can find out about our current groups by clicking here.
But could we ask you a question? If you could choose any time of the day, and day of the week, to attend a shared reading session, when would that be?
The prospect of our returning to libraries to meet in real life remains tantalisingly out of reach, but all the same we are planning to relaunch most of our groups as soon as we can. In the meantime, the Zoom-based groups that we have launched and run through the pandemic have been a great success. They are especially good for people who are house-bound or find it hard to travel, even when there is no lockdown to stop them, and because of this we will continue to run some of them even when things are back to normal.
We’d also like to extend this part of our offering and set up one or two more Zoom-based groups. So, we’d like to know what you think.
Maybe you came to this site hoping to find a group to join but can’t find one at a time that suits you; if that’s so, tell us what you need. Maybe you are at work all day now, and would like an early evening group? Or perhaps a lunchtime one so you can eat your sandwiches while you listen and talk? Maybe a group in mind-afternoon would work for you, giving you some me-time before the kids get home from school? We’d love to know what you think – we can’t make any promises, but there is no harm in asking. Send us a message (see the strip below), and we will see what we can do.
Joining a group
To join one of our groups, just contact us using one of the methods at the bottom of this page and we will send you the log-in details that you will need to access the meeting, along with the texts that we will be reading that week.
Who can join?
Anyone who has a phone or internet access can join, and coming along just once will give you a taste of Shared Reading. There is no long-term commitment - you are welcome to give it a try, and come every week or when you feel like it!
Will it cost me anything?
Joining a Zoom meeting with video on a computer or other internet-connected device is free; audio calls into a meeting from a mobile or landline telephone will be charged at your normal national call rate. For many this will mean that your call is free, as packages tend to include free calls of up to an hour’s duration, for example.
Our Coalville group meets on WhyPay, a telephone conferencing service, so all you need is a phone. Calls are included in 'bundled' minutes from UK landline or mobile numbers, so are free if you have a contract that includes those; if not, they are charged at normal national rates.
Would you like to volunteer with us?
To ensure the continued smooth running of all of our groups, both virtually and later, back in the libraries, we would like to recruit and train some more Shared Reading Group Leaders. If you think you might be interested, find out more here, or get in touch using one of the methods below.
'Will I enjoy shared reading?'
The value of the shared reading experience to our members has become clearer than ever during the pandemic, when many of them are at home and alone. We have received some lovely feedback about our 'virtual' meetings and WhatsApp chats:
"I am so glad I saw the poster in the library. Joining this group is the best thing I have done for me for years. [It] has made the world of difference to me, even more so in the present circumstances. I just love it. Thank you everyone."
"I think this is a story relevant for these times. The current news is so disturbing we have focus to on our gardens and cooking to stay sane! Thank you again, for organising Shared Reading especially at this strange time. It is so appreciated."
"What a wonderful group of people you are. So many moving experiences that you are able to share with such joy."
"I have very much enjoyed the group & certainly found it a lifeline during the depths of lock down when it was sometimes my only chance to join in a conversation!"