Meet fantastic volunteer Reader Leader Emma

How did you get into shared reading & why?

I joined the Whangaparaoa Library Shared Reading group about 15 months ago. I loved it so much it inspired me to take the course and become a Reader Leader. I really enjoy the process of reading aloud and sharing our thoughts. Books bring people together – young and old.

What do you enjoy about being a Reader Leader?

One of my favourite things is finding the short story to share with the group. I like to have a theme that ties my story with a couple of poems. It’s great getting the feedback from members of our group. Sometimes I’m really surprised by what they enjoy ! I sometimes pick stories that are a bit confronting or unusual however our group seem to simply enjoy the reading together no matter what it might be.

Are there any stories or poems that have stuck with you & why?

I have a couple that I have done recently that I personally have really enjoyed. Tobias Wolff’s ‘Bullet in the Brain’ says so much in such a short story. An extremely clever author as his words became so visual. I like any poetry really but I do enjoy Emily Dickinson and her nuggets of reality. Another short story I enjoyed was ‘Who’s that dancing with my mother ‘ by Lloyd Jones. One of my most favourite poems is ‘ Bred in South Auckland’ by Glen Colquhoun. It sums up Auckland’s diversity in such a great way and being an Aucklander there is a lot I can identify with.

Any reader who’s journey has inspired you in your group?

I enjoy hearing from all members of our group. I’ve found often the quieter ones have a lot to say when they get the chance. Everyone has their own unique life story.

Tell us more about your community…

We are a seaside community on Auckland’s Hibiscus Coast. Life is pretty casual and friendly up here. There is a great mix of elderly residents and young family. Shorts and jandals are acceptable attire all year long !

Would you recommend becoming a Reader Leader & why?

I have found becoming a Reader Leader has enhanced my own passion for writing and journaling. It has also given me more confidence socially and a greater belief in my capabilities. I’ve even entered some of my poetry into some competitions which I know I wouldn’t have done previously. I love the contact with my group and the positive vibes of volunteer reading and the accompanying companionship.

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