Reading for pleasure "keeps me completely in touch with who I am" (Avril). "It's one of the few things I can do independently without asking for help or having to fit into other people's schedules" (Female, 65-79).
We have published the results of research we were commissioned to carry out with LISU at Loughborough University by RNIB on the impact of reading on blind and partially sighted people.
The research shows that reading for pleasure has a significant impact on the well-being, quality of life, social integration and learning opportunities of blind and partially sighted people.
For reading group members, reading also brings opportunities to socialise and make friends. The social isolation that some blind and partially sighted people feel appears to intensify the value of reading group activity for this group of people - making them feel part of a community and connected to the real world.
A total of 294 blind and partially sighted people took part in the research and over 80% said that reading for pleasure was very important in their lives. For nearly 70% the main reason was that it made them feel good but it also provided learning opportunities (55%), reduced stress (44%) and provided an escape route into a fantasy world (40%).
The most frequently cited reason for reading was to relax and relieve stress, mentioned by almost two thirds of respondents. One respondent said reading helps "to take my mind off the other problems I've got."
Given how valuable reading is blind and partially sighted people, we believe it is important for publishers, specialist library services and public libraries and other organisations that support reading to work together to deliver appropriate services and increase the range and availability of accessible texts including text-to-speech enabling on e- books. Failing to do so will leave a destabilising void in their lives of many blind and partially sighted readers, "without reading for pleasure, I am incomplete and my life is incomplete." (Female 65-79).
Download the research findings
Read the executive summary
Read the complete report
Read the case studies.
For more information contact Debbie Hicks.