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Project information

Shared Reading for children's emotional well-being

Our evidence shows that reading can genuinely change your life, particularly if you have experienced disadvantage. However by age 12, 50% of children report no longer enjoying reading. Our Shared Reading model can instil a love of reading for pleasure which will support lifelong emotional well-being

January 2018 - January 2019

Charity information: The Reader

The Reader logo
  • Need


    UNESCO state “reading for pleasure is the single most important thing that will make a child successful in life” but a 2016 Scholastic survey shows that reading enjoyment declines sharply as children grow up. While 65% of children aged 6–8 and 9-11 say they either love or like reading books for fun, this drops to 50% for children aged 12-14 year-olds and 54% for 15-17-year-olds.

    Parents reading aloud drops with age too - 62% of parents read aloud to ages 3-5, 38% to 6-8 and just 17% to 9-11.


    The Reader's unique Shared Reading groups brings people together and books to life. We know that Shared Reading can have a major impact on children’s emotional well-being, and form the bedrock for improved life chances including confidence with literature and educational attainment. We will train and support volunteers and staff from partner organisations to read one-to-one and in Shared Reading groups reaching children aged 8+, a crucial age, when they start to disengage.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Encourage children aged 8+ to read for pleasure & use Shared Reading as an emotional well-being tool


    » Shared Reading groups - engage, train and support volunteers / staff members from partner organisations to run Shared Reading groups for young people.
    » One-to-ones - engage, train and support volunteers and staff members from partner organisations to read with children from disadvantaged families.

    What success will look like

    Informally-toned snapshot forms will capture changing attitudes to reading and well-being and the benefits of taking part, plus qualitative case study feedback from partner staff.

  • Impact


    By working in areas with high levels of disadvantage, and building on existing partnerships with referral organisations we will reach children most in need. By showcasing Shared Reading as an emotional well-being tool we will increase their life chances including improved confidence with literature and self-esteem. As a 2016 OECD PISA report showed, students who enjoy reading the most perform significantly better, with students who read fiction more likely to achieve high scores.


    The primary risk involved in this project is meaningful engagement with hard-to-reach children. Children disillusioned with mainstream education, in particular reading, are some of the most challenging to enthuse about the benefits of reading for pleasure. However this will be mitigated by the flexibility of our Shared Reading model, our experience reading in sensitive environments, reading with excluded teenagers / LAC and our network of trusted partners to help with referrals.


    Donors who are happy to share their contact details will receive quarterly email updates on the project followed by a digital end of project report. The updates will showcase the training, partnership work and volunteer recruitment as well as highlighting the real Reader stories from the project.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £60,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £30,000 Equipping Volunteers Recruit, train and support volunteers, including training resources and access to online platform
      £8,224 Volunteer and Staff Support Project support for volunteers and staff including expenses
      £975 Events Recruitment events and volunteer celebration events
      £3,360 Books Resources to be used in Shared Reading groups and one-to-one sessions
      £10,853 Staff Costs Salary for a part-time staff member undertaking partner engagement and volunteer recruitment
      £2,672 Project Management Senior / project management time
      £3,916 Overhead Core support for project including evaluation process
  • Background


    We propose to target this project near our HQ in the Liverpool City Region and wider North West, engaging an age group we don't yet reach in a geographical area with real need:

    More than 80,000 children in the Liverpool City Region are currently growing up in poverty. The Children's Commissioner states that children growing up in the North West are among the most disadvantaged in the country and it is getting worse - half of the city's electoral wards have since child poverty rise since 2015.


    The primary beneficiaries of the project will be disadvantaged children aged 8+ across the North West. However similar to The Big Give's unique offer of doubling your donation, our projects see double the impact. In addition to the benefit group members experience, the volunteers we train and support also report improved emotional well-being, a real sense of achievement as well as increased skills and confidence.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Reader is the only organisation delivering Shared Reading groups across the UK. We pioneered the model and are the global experts having exported Shared Reading to partners in other countries. Our Reading Revolution continues with volunteers and staff commissioned to read in over 500 groups in settings including schools, prisons, high security hospitals, care homes, libraries and community centres. We have a strong research base to showcase our impact and are an Arts Council England NPO.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Dr Jane Davis MBE

    The Reader's founder and director, Jane developed the Shared Reading model and ensures the quality of our training and literature.

    Helen Wilson

    As Head of Operations, Helen oversees our Shared Reading projects across the country & has previously run a project reading with looked after children

    Kara Orford

    As The Reader's Children and Young Person Manager, Kara is responsible for building our network engaged delivery partners across the North West.