Projects > Reading Rooms

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Reading Rooms is a mobile shared reading programme that gives participants a voice, reduces isolation and anxiety, and promotes wellbeing.

Using a reading aloud and shared reading setting the programme encourages participants to share personal experiences from their past, sparking memories, stimulating new thoughts and provoking conversation related to the short story and poems selected in advance and tailored to the needs of the group by the project’s Literary Guide. The group sessions are led by a trained facilitator who has completed an intensive three day accredited training programme on how to use the reading aloud model and engage with the groups they are working with. The facilitator skilfully brings the group together and prompts conversation without pressure. Discussions are free flowing and this social aspect of the group allows for a friendly atmosphere and an opportunity to learn more about others. Reading Rooms can take place anywhere in the community and works best in groups of no more than 10 people. Reading Rooms are currently taking place across Derry~Londonderry, Strabane, Limavady, Portstewart, Whiteabbey and Belfast. They happen in St Brigid's College, Holy Cross Boys' Primary, Customised Training, the NOW Project, Extern, and Foyle Disability Resource Centre.

The project’s focus on wellbeing comes to the fore when Reading Rooms take place for people with Dementia, in residential care homes such as Edenballymore Lodge, Our Lady’s Home, Mullan Mews and, Enler Day Centre. We also work with stroke survivors and their carers, with Hospice patients and their families and with groups that focus on mental health, wellbeing and offer bereavement support such as the Beacon Centre in Derry, and Northern Trust services in Carrickfergus and Whiteabbey.

We run weekly Reading Rooms in Magilligan and Hydebank Prisons, while others take place in community centres such as Rath Mor and Upper Andersonstown Community Forum. We have partnered up with Alzheimer's Society to deliver Reading Rooms in Dementia Cafes in Derry, Limavady and Strabane. We have developed the project in some more unusual spaces such as galleries and disused shops ; for example; in The Void Gallery and in Belfast Exposed we have run wonderful Reading Rooms related to the exhibitions on view; in Open Source as part of Culture Night Belfast and we have partnered with Big Telly to develop a Reading Room in a shop front in Strabane as part of their Creative Shops project. We are working in partnership with the NOW Project to deliver al fresco Reading Rooms across the Connswater Community Greenway in Belfast.

If you would like to experience a Reading Room in Derry~Londonderry, there is an open Reading Room in Foyleside Shopping Centre every Thursday at 7.00pm evening in Eason’s bookshop. All are welcome to join in and there is no cost.

The project is volunteer-led and our volunteers are offered accredited training OCN NI Level 2 Facilitation Skills for Shared Reading to help them deliver a programme of high quality, along with continuing support, master classes and input into the programme throughout the year. Our training aims to give volunteers the skills and confidence to deliver shared reading to a wide variety of groups. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or would like more information on the Reading Rooms please contact:

* Sinead Devine - Derry~Londonderry and the north west Tel: 028 71 266 946 or Email:

* Marian Cinnamond - Belfast and the north east Tel: 028 71 266 946 or Email:

Upcoming Events

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Image for BabyDay World of Words

BabyDay World of Words

Reading Rooms has teamed up with…
Sunday 27th September 2015
Image for BabyDay Reading Rooms Ramble

BabyDay Reading Rooms Ramble

Hop on board our Reading Rooms…
Sunday 27th September 2015
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Flann O'Brien Literary Festival

Our Reading Rooms bus will be…
Friday 2nd October 2015
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Random Acts of Poetry

We have some lovely activities lined…
Wednesday 7th October 2015
Image for Reading Rooms: Easons Foyleside

Reading Rooms: Easons Foyleside

A friendly and welcoming group of…
Thursday 15th October 2015