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Providing meaningful social contact through shared reading.

Through its weekly shared reading support groups, The Reading Revolution is a volunteer-driven project that encourages the reading and discussing of literature, short stories and poetry.

By reading and discussing aloud, the project helps to remove some of the barriers some may experience when it comes to accessing literature.

However, it is so much more than a literacy initiative; it also provides those who are excluded and isolated with an opportunity to make meaningful, face-to-face social connections in a safe environment. 

Those attending the reading groups include the elderly, prisoners, rough sleepers and people attending alcohol and drug recovery programmes.

With demand for the reading groups growing steadily, they successfully applied to last year's Grassroots Giving programme for a grant.

Volunteer coordinator Kate Middleton says the funds have been invaluable in ensuring the sustainability of the project.

"This grant has supported us during a crucial time of growth for The Reading Revolution. Not only have we been able to continue to our work to support the community, we’ve added another three new library groups. We also have projects underway to serve the LGBTQi and Chinese migrant communities."

"Our members experience a number of benefits from group reading, but overwhelmingly they experience increased confidence, and a reduction in isolation and loneliness as the group dynamic allows for a deep and meaningful connection with one another."

"At the Central City library, we run a group containing current and ex-rough sleepers mixed with the general public. By allowing a safe space for people to explore thoughts, feelings, ideas and experiences indirectly through the reading, we've seen new perspectives and empathy to emerge."

"Our volunteers also get to experience a great support network, and the joy of giving back to their own communities. Two of our Reader Leaders are both new migrants, and support Auckland CBD's new migrant community through a “Shared Reading for New Aucklanders group."

"We're so lucky to be empowered by a growing, diverse and energetic group of fabulous volunteers! Our collective dream is to break through all barriers to participation so that anyone and everyone in Auckland can easily access a shared reading group."

The Reading Revolution currently runs 15 shared reading groups across Auckland, all run by volunteers.

Photo supplied by The Reading Revolution.