The Reader Organisation’s fifth annual national conference takes place at the British Library Conference Centre, Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB on Thursday, 15 May 2014, 9am-4.30pm and will explore how their shared reading model uses literature to improve mental health, reduce social isolation and enhance quality of life. Academic research into The Reader Organisation’s projects has demonstrated statistically significant improvements in the mental health of those suffering mild to moderate depression, reduced agitation for those suffering with dementia, and improved emotional, social and educational wellbeing for women in prison.   A recent evaluation report calculated that every £1 invested in shared reading generates an average social return of £6.47.    

Dr David Fearnley, Medical Director, Mersey Care NHS Trust, said: Shared reading is one of the most significant developments to have taken place in mental health practice in the last ten years.   Shared reading groups currently take place every week in health, criminal justice, community, and education settings across the UK, providing individuals with the tools to transform their relationship to themselves and one another. This conference offers an opportunity for commissioners, practitioners and professionals from all sectors to examine the impact of shared reading on individuals, communities and organisations.

Confirmed speakers include:

  •  Lord Melvyn Bragg, writer, broadcaster, and former President of MIND, sharing his personal reading experiences.
  •  Lord Alan Howarth, Co-Chair All Party Parliamentary Group for Arts, Health and Wellbeing; Nick Benefield, former Joint Head of the NHS and NOMS Offender Personality Disorder Implementation Programme, and Lord David Ramsbotham, former HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, discussing the effect of shared reading in secure mental health settings.
  •  Baroness Estelle Morris, former Secretary of State for Education, and Dr Alice Sullivan, Institute for Education, discussing the role of reading in schools
  •  Professor Philip Davis and Dr Josie Billington, the Centre for Research into Reading, Information and Linguistic Systems at the University of Liverpool, presenting the findings of their AHRC study into the cultural value of shared reading.

Booking information: full day delegate, including lunch and refreshments – £140.   To book your place online,  please go to  Alternatively, contact Abigail Leader for information on paying by cheque or invoice at:  or phone on: 0151 207 7221.

For more information, please go to  Follow @thereaderorg, #betterwithabook on Twitter for the latest updates.


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