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This is an excellent project for anyone who is interested in using stories in a therapeutic context. Reading for Wellbeing explores the possibilities of poetry and stories in therapeutic contexts, combining theory with each participants’ personal life story.

Why Reading for Wellbeing? The act of reading or being read to is cognitively demanding, and this helps decrease memory decline by more than 30%, compared to engaging in other forms of mental activity. Those who read the most have the fewest physical signs of dementia. The benefits of encouraging participants to read or allow others to read to them and talk about carefully selected stories will uplift their mood and improve their concentration as well as long and short-term memory. Other participants will state that they have seen improvements in their short-term memory, or improvement of critical thinking abilities, improving and expanding vocabulary. Learning a new skill such as pronouncing and spelling new words can increase brain activity and provides individuals with a hobby that can prevent boredom.

Engaging and stimulating the brain is crucial for maintaining brain fitness and keeping the mind strong. Reading acts as a form of exercise for the brain that helps to keep it stimulated and healthy. Reading new material can expose people to new words and uses of language that they can integrate into their everyday lives and provide them with motivation to socialise even more.

It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive – James Baldwin

Through this project, we are also intending to generate a ripple effect and have participants engage family members, partners, friends and neighbours in continuing to meet up for group sessions, book talks and with our help, start small community book clubs where we would help bring local authors as occasional guests for book talks. We will continue to support all involved with free educational resources and any other type of support (advice and provision of free educational resources) as per each individual’s request.

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