Cultural Value Assessing the intrinsic value of The Reader Organisation’s Shared Reading Scheme

Author(s):*Listed Alphabetically
Billington J, Corcoran R, Davis P, Farrington G, Gonzalez-Diaz V, Lampropoulou S, Magee F, Walsh E

Year of Publication:

University of Liverpool

Publication Type:


This report assessed the intrinsic value of The Reader Organisation’s Shared Reading Scheme.

The Reader Organisation’s (TRO) mission is to create environments where personal responses to books are freely shared in reading communities in every area of life. The TRO has pioneered the weekly ‘read aloud’ model at the heart of its Get into Reading Project (GiR), now known as Shared Reading. The GiR model is based on small groups (2–12 people), formed to read aloud together short stories, novels and poetry. The Reader currently has 70 full-time employees and delivers over 360 groups, in a range of health and social care settings (community centres, libraries, homeless shelters, schools, hospitals, offices, doctors’ surgeries, prisons, drug rehab units and care homes) across the UK.

The primary aims of the project are to identify the intrinsic value components of the reading aloud shared-reading model as a specific participatory and voluntary experience, in creation of both individual meaningfulness and a strongly interactive small community, and to examine the relationship of this intrinsic value to (arguably) collateral and secondary (therapeutic, health, economic, social) benefits.

They ran a 12-week cross-over design to compare and contrast the ‘intrinsic’ experience associated with GiR with Built Environment groups (BE) exploring the design of the park area around the new International Centre for Reading and Wellbeing, at Calderstones Mansion. Measures of mental health and wellbeing benefits were included, ahead of whether benefits were to be deemed ‘instrumental’ or not. Quantitative and qualitative measures were used to collect data.

The findings demonstrate that shared reading can have beneficial outcomes in terms of re-invigorating sense of purpose and improving an individual’s sense of value and meaning in life (past and present), making active contribution possible. This finding is of particular significance for those who are low in wellbeing (languishing) or suffering from mild to moderate depression.

Evidence Type: Non-Randomised Evaluation

Main Focus: Community Development

Research Purpose: Outcome Evaluation

Context: Community

Participant Group: Adults

Art Forms: Literature

Access Type: Free Download

APA Citation:

Davis, P., Billington, J., Corcoran, R., Gonzalez-Diaz, V., Lampropoulou, S., Farrington, G., Magee, F. and Walsh, E. (2015). Cultural Value Assessing the intrinsic value of The Reader Organisation’s Shared Reading Scheme. Liverpool: Centre for Research into Reading, Literature and Society (CRILS), University of Liverpool.