I have a friend and colleague who had a short story published in the latest edition of The Reader, a magazine that encourages readers ‘to extend their horizons’.

‘The Reader is not academic, it is not arty, it is not preachy, it is not exclusive. It is a magazine concerned with the direct effect of books on readers, with the human content and purpose of literature.

The Reader magazine is dedicated ‘to bring the best in reading to all its readers. Combining new fiction, new poetry, thought pieces, book news, reviews and reader recommendations.’

Support for Learning teacher, Nigel Bird, joins such luminaries as John Kinsella, Michael Parker, Blake Morrison and Seamus Heaney in December’s edition with a lovely lyrical tale set in a wild Scottish landscape.

The Reader Organisation is a charity dedicated to nothing less than bringing about a Reading Revolution, making it possible for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to enjoy and engage with books.
‘Get Into Reading’ has 150 groups meeting weekly in hospitals, prisons, refugee centres, children’s homes, day care centres and homes for older people. These are not traditional ‘book groups’ but are reading groups led by trained workers.

Texts are read aloud, with group members joining in as and when they please. Engagement with the text is immediate – and enriched by the spontaneous sharing of life stories and experiences of group members as confidence builds over time.

(Sounds a bit like the Reading Recovery method for supporting young inexpereinced readers to make progress.)

Get Into Reading aims to ‘engage people through literature to improve wellbeing, build community and extend reading pleasure’. But in addition, the focus is upon serious literature. Clare Allan in a Guardian article (can’t find a link to it), writes that this is the aspect she finds most exciting:

It’s the opening up of great literature, giving it back to the people who need it. And … the emphasis is on “great” literature. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with Agatha Christie, but neither is it snobbish to insist that “Anna Karenina” offers more to the reader in terms of enrichment than “Murder on the Orient Express”.

All too often, people are excluded from the ‘treasure house of literature’ (Doris Lessing’s phrase). How wonderful to hear of such an exciting project that seeks to include those on the margins.

With thanks to Society Guardian.

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