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Shared Reading and Reminiscence for Wellbeing

According to the Office for National Statistics, between financial years of 2014 and 2015, The North East and Yorkshire were the only two English regions with no significant reductions in low levels of wellbeing across any of the personal wellbeing measures compared with the financial year ending 2014

Research clearly shows an intimate connection between reading, reminiscence and wellbeing. Shared reading groups and reminiscence activities reduce feelings of loneliness, anxiety, depression, social isolation, shame. These group activities are also very effective for those who struggle with mild mental health challenges and emotional distress, and accelerates growth and healing through the reading and facilitated discussions of literary texts and bespoke reminiscence prints.

Reading aloud is an activity that everyone can take part in. It sharpens the intellect, invigorates the imagination and enlarges the scope of human sympathy. If we all read aloud every day, the world would be a better place – Philip Pullman

The provision and access to counselling in the UK is scant, restricted, inaccessible, often inconvenient – and too expensive. Existing health and social care systems are struggling to cope with the challenges of the multifaceted needs of an ageing population, who are especially vulnerable to loneliness and social isolation.

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

Literature – words – are powerful tools and can be used to make us feel better by connecting us with the lives and situations of the characters and by using them as a vessel to relate to others how we may be feeling.

Being read to is the beguiling beginning of learning to love reading – it opens the door to absolutely everything and anything we might want to do in life – Joanna Trollope

The shared reading of powerful literary texts and the socialisation that takes place over reminiscence prints facilitates unique ways people connect with one another to form a positive state of mind and body, as well as develop a greater sense of connection with their communities and the wider environment.

I’ve always known that reading aloud was one of the paths to greater happiness in life. It’s rather pleasing to hear of research backing this up convincingly. But reading aloud isn’t medicine to be swallowed to make one feel better. It’s pleasure. Pure pleasure – Stephen Fry

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