This week, in my new role as project worker for The Reader Organisation (TRO), I’ve been working hard to get ready for the shared reading groups that I’ll be facilitating, very soon, in Wiltshire. This work has involved lots of reading. Yes, I’ve been slaving over some good books.
My first session for people with memory loss and their carers will take place in Mere Library next Wednesday, 11th December, 2pm – 4pm. With it being so near to Christmas, it will be a Christmas-themed event with mince pies on offer, as well as tea, coffee or a soft drink.
I’ve chosen extracts from two traditional stories: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas. Both are rich in vivid images and language and should provide really good talking points for the group: childhood memories of Christmas, as well as feelings and attitudes towards the Christmas season. The idea of the session is to enjoy reading and listening to stories and poems and then to chat about what we’ve read. I’ll start off by reading aloud to the group with everyone following along with their own copy of the story. We’ll read slowly, pausing to talk over the bits that strike us as the most interesting, with other people taking turns to read aloud, if they want to – there’s no pressure to do this, some people will enjoy listening and commenting or simply listening. So it’s connecting to others, in a friendly setting, over a good book.
I’ve also chosen a selection of poems to read although I doubt that we’ll have time to read them all. It was fantastic to be able to draw on the online resources available at TRO to find some poems which I hope the group will enjoy. I’m more familiar with contemporary , than traditional, older poetry but for this first session I thought it would be more welcoming to the group to include some poems they might already be familiar with, so I’ve chosen The Mahogany Tree by William Makepeace Thackeray; Woods in Winter by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; Minstrels by William Wordsworth; Voices in the Mist by Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Love Came Down at Christmas by Christina Rossetti.
As well as reading up on these poems and stories, not to mention printing them off in clear, enticing fonts and photocopying them, I’ve also been attending the Read to Lead Course in London, run by TRO, which is enabling me to gain the skills I’ll need to successfully facilitate groups. I’ll try to write about that in another post.
And I must mention the new Twitter account TRO has set up in the South West to help spread the word about projects we’re undertaking in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Wiltshire. All followers will be deeply cherished so if you feel like making us feel welcome on Twitter, don’t hesitate to head over there @TheReaderSW!
For now, though, it’s time to stick my nose into another book……