What is reading? What does it really mean to us as human beings? Can reading really change the way we think and feel about ourselves, other people and society at large? Can it change the way we live, function and behave?
Our evaluation of Get Into Reading consistently demonstrates how the groups help a wide range of people to feel better about themselves and the world in which they live. We now need to understand why this is the case and are working closely with the Centre for Research into Reading, Information and Linguistic Systems (CRILS) at the University of Liverpool in order to further understand why our work is having such an impact.
We are working alongside a multidisciplinary research team embracing, as well as influencing, the fields of anthropology, education, health sciences, medical humanities, neuroscience, philosophy, psychoanalysis, psychology, and psychotherapy. Get Into Reading groups are able to act as a human and social as well as a health intervention. It is a pressing concern to find, or develop, research tools and methodologies which have currency with the scientific community and which do not damage or misrepresent the nature of Get Into Reading.
Our current research interests include:
- Reading for Health and Wellbeing
- Reading with Children and Young People
- Reading and Dementia
- Reading for Rehabilitation within Criminal Justice Settings
- Reading and Community
1. A Literature-Based Intervention for Older People Living with Dementia
An evaluation report by the Centre for Research into Reading, Information and Linguistic Systems (2012)
Download Reading Record - a list of the reading materials used in the Get Into Reading Groups evaluated in this report.
The Reader Organisation has a long working history of delivering Get Into Reading groups for people with dementia in care home settings as well as older people in general. This new report is the product of a six month mixed methods study, funded by the Headley Trust, of the impact of the Get Into Reading model as a literature-based intervention which can reduce the symptoms of dementia.
2. An investigation into the therapeutic benefits of reading in relation to depression and well-being
Josie Billington, Chris Dowrick, Andrew Hamer, Jude Robinson, and Clare Williams, 2011
This latest report examines the findings of a year long research study which investigated the therapeutic benefits of shared reading, using the Get Into Reading model, in relation to depression and well-being. The study found that Get Into Reading helped patients suffering from depression in terms of their social well-being, mental well-being, and emotional and psychological well-being. It also established what types of literature work, why they work and how they work in the specific context of depressive illness.
3. Reading and Talking: Exploring the Experience of Taking Part in Reading Groups at Vauxhall Health Care Centre
Jude Robinson, 2008
Based on a research study of a Get Into Reading group taking place in a GP surgery, this report explores what happens when people get together in a shared reading group and how participation relates to aspects of physical and emotional health and wellbeing.
4. Reading and Talking: Exploring the Experience of Taking Part in Reading Groups in Walton Neuro-Rehabilitation Unit
Jude Robinson, 2008
Based on a research study of a Get Into Reading group taking place at Walton Neuro-Rehabilitation Unit, explores what happens when people get together in a Get Into Reading group and how participation relates to aspects of physical and emotional health and wellbeing.
5. Reading between the lines: the experiences of taking part in a community reading project
Suzanne Hodge, Jude Robinson, Philip Davis, 2007 (in Medical Humanities, British Medical Journal (Med. Humanit. 2007; 33; pp. 100-104)
Reports the findings of an early research pilot study of six Get Into Reading groups to explore people’s experiences. Findings consider the social, therapeutic, and literary function of the group and how the shared reading intervention differs from other bibliotherapy initiatives as an alternative approach to the treatment of depression.
Professor Philip Davis is the Director of the Centre for Research into Reading, Information and Linguistic Systems, University of Liverpool and Editor of The Reader magazine.
Other CRILS Publications
Syntax and Pathways
Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 2008, Vol.33, No.4, pp.265-278
Event-related potential characterisation of the Shakespearean functional shift in narrative sentence structure
Guillaume Thierry, Clara D. Martin, Victorina Gonzalez-Diaz, Roozbeh Rezaie, Neil Roberts, and Philip M. Davis.
NeuroImage 40, 2008, pp.923-931
How Shakespeare tempests the brain: Neuroimaging insights
James L. Keidel, Philip M. Davis, Victorina Gonzalez-Diaz, Clara D. Martin, Guillaume Thierry
Cortex, Volume 48, Issue 5, pp.521-64, May 2012
current research projects
In collaboration with CRILS and other research partners, we are currently involved in the following research projects:
1. A Literature-Based Intervention for Sufferers of Chronic Pain
This new research project, due to start early 2012, will investigate the possible effects that a reading intervention might have for sufferers of chronic pain (closely associated with depression). Two weekly Get Into Reading groups will be established for those suffering from chronic pain, one taking place at the Royal Hospital Liverpool, the other in an open community context. This study has been funded by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Mersey Care NHS Trust, and also involves a research collaboration with Faculty of Health Sciences, Royal Liverpool Hospital and The Mental Health Foundation.
2. A Literature-Based Intervention for Women Prisoners: Pilot Study
(April 2011-March 2012)
This project, funded by National Personality Disorder Team, Department of Health/Ministry of Justice, will seek to capture the impact of Get Into Reading groups for female prisoners at HMP Low Newton, Durham. The project will establish weekly reading groups in these two women’s prisons where deliberate self-harm is of particular concern. Where drug intervention has proved unsuccessful, psychosocial intervention which validates personal experience and encourages positive self-belief – such as shared reading – can be especially effective.
3. Participatory Arts for Well-Being: Past and Present Practices
(Jan 2011-Dec 2012)
Funded by the AHRC through their Connected Communities Programme, this is a collaboration between University of Liverpool, Exeter and Glamorgan, in partnership with The Reader Organisation and the Young Foundation. The study will offer analytical studies of flagship community arts practices, including Get Into Reading. The project will result in a special issue of the Journal of Arts and Communities.
4. A Practice-informed Study of the Theoretical Bases for Bibliotherapy
(2009 - 2012)
This PhD is the first of its kind to seek to prove that English literature is pivotal in relation to health and wellbeing. The Arts and Humanities Research Council Collaborative Doctoral Award partners us with the University of Liverpool and Mersey Care NHS Trust, building on the University’s groundbreaking MA in Reading in Practice. The project explores the existing theoretical foundations for the practice of bibliotherapy, or ‘reading as cure’, in the English literary tradition, seeking to translate theory into practise from research in shared reading groups in Mersey Care NHS Trust settings.
5. Reading for Pleasure in Glasgow Schools
After the success of a pilot project, funded by the University of Liverpool in partnership with Liverpool Children’s Services (Liverpool City Council) and The Reader Organisation, which brought shared reading to children struggling emotionally, socially or educationally in schools across Liverpool from October 2010-May 2011, The Reader Organisation now has a Reader-in-Residence working in schools across Glasgow. Running regular groups for children focused on reading for pleasure which relate to increasing children’s wellbeing as well as educational attainment, the aim is to build a transition project over the next three years that will also reach out to the parents and school staff so that a self sustaining shared reading for pleasure community can exist across the city.