Chatabout is a free and unique new national network to support the growing number of reading groups for adults with literacy needs. We're inviting anyone already running or wanting to run one of these groups to join Chatabout at www.chataboutreading.ning.com.
Chatabout network day
On 8 October 2010 we held our first Chatabout Network Day which attracted a wide range of people who run reading groups for emergent adult readers - from publishers through to library and college staff.
Read more and view the presentations from the day.
Background on reading groups
Reading groups are growing fast as a powerful form of learning and cultural activity - in England and Wales the number of groups has risen by 149% over the last four years. The Reading Agency wants everyone to have the chance to belong to one - and especially those at the start of their reading journey. Over half of adults (56%) have literacy skills below the level of a good GCSE. Research tells us that reading for pleasure can improve people's skills at the same time as increasing their motivation to read and learn more, thus creating a virtuous circle.
So what's on offer if you join Chatabout?
- A way to network and learn from each other online at www.chataboutreading.ning.com - only open to Chatabout members
- Free practical guidance and case studies for practitioners in setting up or running reading groups. We'll be adding to this as we find out about more groups around the country and how they operate.
- Lots of book recommendations from First Choice Books - our searchable database of more than 600 titles selected to appeal to emergent readers.
- An online list with details of websites where you can source books, resources and other useful information for working with readers from Entry Level upwards.
- Ideas from our learning resource packs to get people talking (and writing) about the Quick Reads titles published each year on World Book Day in early March.
- Monthly updates with information and ideas.
- Use of the logo to show that you're part of the network. You may already have a reading group up and running with its own name - we know about the Chatty Readers in Southend, the Quick Reads Book Group in Hertfordshire and Amateurs Readers in Tameside. But if you're only just starting and want to join our network, why not call yourselves a Chatabout group?
- The chance to feed in ideas as we develop a Chatabout membership pack and a special interactive website when funding allows.
- Advance notice of events and training that we will be running. Our first training day was run in June 2010 and our first Chatabout Network Day on Friday 8 October.
We hope that Chatabout groups will inspire emergent or lapsed readers aged 16 upwards to share their thoughts, not just about books but about things they read, watch or experience that may lead them into reading. From surfing the web and gaming to films or TV programmes, anything can be used to get them chatting about books or other reading material. Chatabout can take place anywhere: in a library or in a college, workplace, community centre, hospital, prison, church or shopping centre. Chatabout can be a one-off session or a regular activity, with your local public library providing support. You can also cater for specialist audience needs, such as family reading, ESOL or health literacy.
We're developing Chatabout from our experience of supporting work with emergent readers over several years, most recently with our annual incentive scheme the Six Book Challenge. Join in now and be part of something new!