U3A & St Helier’s library

Second Tuesday of the month 10am -11:30am


What is a shared reading group? What can I expect?

The meeting begins with the group gathering for tea/coffee, a biscuit and a chat : )

U3A volunteer Margaret & librarian Joanne give out photocopies of a short story and a poem to everyone. It is made clear to the group that anyone can read who would like to, but there is no pressure to read if you would prefer to just listen. It is also made clear that everybody’s ideas and opinions are of equal value i.e. there are no literary experts! This is made possible as it operates as a “level playing field” – everyone is telling the others what they are thinking and feeling about the story/poem right now.

Shared reading is a very effective way to allow everyone to have their own voice, their own ideas, and nobody will challenge or refute them, the leader included. It is an exercise in listening to one another, and allowing many interpretations of the same passages. It is a very different format to more conventional book groups or other groups where literature is read aloud (poetry or plays).

Reading will take place gradually, with those who wish taking turns to read. We stop after a few paragraphs, and discuss what this is bringing up for us personally. Memories, ideas as to what might be happening in the story, ideas about the context. Anything that comes to mind. The task of the leader/s is to lead the group in a non directive way, encouraging a sharing of ideas and feelings. Some paragraphs may be repeated to draw particular attention to them, some words may be singled out for more focused attention. Some poems may be read twice to allow us to absorb them better.

Come and try something new! All U3A members welcome : )

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