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What happens in a shared reading group?

Each week, the volunteer Reader Leader will bring a story and poem to share with everyone; these are read aloud either by the leader or by willing members of the group. We never ask anyone to read unless they’d like to. Everyone has a copy of the text so that they can follow it as it is read aloud.

Throughout the session, the group will pause to reflect on the story or poem, working out what’s going on together, sharing their thoughts about it, perhaps making personal connections to the literature. The Reader Leader encourages discussion, creating a safe space where members feel valued, encouraged and listened to.

Some groups like to work their way through a novel rather than have a short story every week. The inclusion of poetry as an integral part of the model is important as it can evoke strong memories and feelings. It also allows people to get involved who may have a limited memory or attention span.


Each Reader Leader takes great care to ensure that all the stories and poems they use are of good quality, with depth and resonance. They can range from the classics such as Dickens, Wordsworth and Austen through Seamus Heaney and Elizabeth Bowen to contemporary writers such as Margaret Atwood and Carol Ann Duffy.

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