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Read On, Get On: Ensuring children can ‘read well’

September 10, 2014

read on get onAs the new school year is underway, news that as many as 1.5m UK children could leave primary school unable to read adequately by 2025 makes for unsettling reading.

Findings by Save The Children have discovered that illiteracy is a significant problem amongst the UK’s schoolchildren, with disadvantged children at most risk of being unable to read well by the time they leave primary school. Nearly half of all children from poorer backgrounds cannot read and understand books, newspapers and websites at age 11, and are the equivalent of seven years schooling behind stronger readers. The report also found that England is one of the most unequal countries for levels of reading attainment amongst children in the EU, coming second only to Romania.

To go some way to tackling this crisis, Save The Children are spearheading the Read On, Get On campaign to ensure that all children are able to read well and confidently when they leave primary school. The campaign is being supported by charities, publishers and educational organisations including the National Literacy Trust, Harper Collins and the National Association of Head Teachers, as well as public figures, celebrities and authors including Sir John Major, Michael Morpurgo and Helen Fielding, emphasising the importance of reading to social mobility and the future prosperity of the nation. We’re pleased that our home of Liverpool is setting the trend when it comes to getting children of all ages reading, and even more proud that City of Readers – a city-wide initative to encourage children and young people to read more, as well as everyone else – is supporting the Read On, Get On campaign, which pledges to unlock every child’s potential in life through reading, and reading well. You can add your support here:

Children at the City of Readers Launch c. Liverpool Echo

Children at the City of Readers Launch c. Liverpool Echo

The Reader Organsation has been working closely with City of Readers, a campaign for Liverpool Learning Partnership which aims to transform Liverpool into the UK’s foremost reading city, and specifically to develop a generation of young readers who will take the power of great books into the future. Taking Liverpool as an example, City of Readers is part of the nationwide drive to ensure that the chances of children everywhere are improved by increased and deeper engagement with reading.

City of Readers is partly a response to a report by Liverpool Education Commission which aims to raise standards in schools and narrow the attainment gap between different groups of children in the city, but also encourage and enthuse the future generation to read more for the pleasure of doing so. Children who read for pleasure not only think more creatively, but also make more progress in school subjects including maths, vocabulary and spelling, according to a study by the Institute of Education.

Not only is City of Readers working with schools on a range of projects designed to especially to improve the reading of children, there are also many ways in which parents, carers and families can be involved to make reading a part of every child’s life – we know that reading in the home is a crucial way of improving reading skills. Frank Cottrell Boyce is writing an exclusive online serial as part of ‘Give Us 5′ for City of Readers – a marvellous mystery for the whole family to enjoy – and there’ll be much more happening to promote reading in Liverpool for children and everyone as the project progresses.

We’re really glad to see the issue of reading amongst children and young people is being raised on a vast public scale, and happy that Liverpool is setting the agenda for the rest of the country.

Find out more about City of Readers on the website: and for more information about getting involved with the campaign, please contact

You can learn more about the Read On, Get On campaign and sign the petition to ensure every child born this year will be able to read well by 2025 here:

Job Vacancies at The Reader Organisation

September 9, 2014

The Reader Organisation can announce two new job vacancies, for a Big Lottery Project Volunteer Assistant in Merseyside, and a Team Leader in the South West of England.

Big Lottery Project Volunteer Assistant

  • Based: The Friary Centre, Bute Street, Liverpool, L5 3LA
  • Hours: Full time
  • Contract: until July 2016
  • Salary: £15,000 per annum

We recognise that volunteering has a key role to play in our future and are seeking to appoint an additional Assistant to our Volunteer Managers funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund. Our Big Lottery project engages people experiencing or at risk of experiencing mental health problems in a range of volunteering opportunities across TRO in Merseyside. Its focus is to deliver volunteer-led reading groups in care homes for older people.

The post holder will provide administrative support to the Volunteer Managers and also have a key role to play in the on-going support of volunteers on the project.

The post holder will be required to work in our three Merseyside offices: the project is based in Everton, with staff required to travel to our head office in Calderstones Mansion House and our Wirral office, in Birkenhead.

A full Job Description for this role can be found on our website

Deadline for applications: Friday 12th September, 9am

NB: applications arriving after 9am will not be considered.

A high volume of applications may make replies to everyone impossible.

Interviews date: Wednesday 24th September 2014

Interviews will include a short IT test

Role begins: Beginning of November

South West Team Leader

  • Based in the South West (Plymouth/Exeter preferred)
  • Reporting to: Head of Operations
  • Salary: £22,000-£24,000 per annum
  • Hours: 35 hours per week, 30 days annual leave
  • Duration: Fixed-term 12 month contract

This role calls for an exceptionally highly-motivated and dedicated person. You will be responsible for the successful management of a team in the South West alongside some delivery of shared reading.

Specific responsibilites will include:

  • Manage the work of the staff team, including recruitment, allocation of responsibilities, objective setting and development reviews, staff support and supervision, budget management, IT (including Dynamics), Communications, Quality, Monitoring and Evaluation, dealing with day to day issues and concerns
  • Arrange and lead team meetings
  • Manage, support and supervise volunteers
  • Liaise with host organisations and ensure best practice, including Service Level Agreements and Risk Assessments
  • Ensure a high standard of delivery of Shared Reading by ensuring groups meet quality standards; that staff and volunteers are well trained and engage in continuous professional development and that regular monitoring and evaluation takes place
  • Seek to raise the profile of The Reader Organisation throughout the South West

A full Job Description for this role can be downloaded on our website.

Deadline for applications: Monday 22nd September, 5pm

NB: applications arriving after 9am will not be considered

A high volume of applications may make replies to everyone impossible.

Interviews: Thursday 9th October 2014, Thistle Hotel, Exeter City Centre

Role begins: As soon as possible thereafter

How to apply:

Please do not just send in a CV. We will only consider applications that adhere to the following process -

To apply for either of these roles, and select  Job Opportunities underneath the ‘Working With Us’ tab where you will be able to view the full job description and download an application form. Please complete the application form and submit a covering letter, explaining how you meet the requirements of the role, to

Your covering letter is an opportunity for you to include any additional information which could not be explained within the application form.


We are also currently looking for interns in the roles of Arts Administration and Communications. Internships at The Reader Organisation last for sixteen weeks for a total of 21 hours per week, with flexibility allowed. Roles are unpaid but all travel expenses will be recouped, and interns will gain practical and stimulating experience of a dynamic and growing charity.

Deadline for applications to both Internship roles is Monday 22nd September, 5pm. Interviews will take place on Monday 29th September. For more information on applying and to download role full role descriptions, please visit the Internships section of our website.

Featured Poem: The Self-Unseeing by Thomas Hardy

September 8, 2014

We read this poem in a communications team meeting a few weeks ago and found it a captivating one to explore, and have since found it to be a poem that really stays with you after reading. Written by Victorian writer Thomas Hardy –  known for his dark, gothic style – we hope you find today’s featured poem an interesting read.

Here is the ancient floor,
Footworn and hollowed and thin,
Here was the former door
Where the dead feet walked in.

She sat here in her chair,
Smiling into the fire;
He who played stood there,
Bowing it higher and higher.

Childlike, I danced in a dream;
Blessings emblazoned that day;
Everything glowed with a gleam;
Yet we were looking away!

Thomas Hardy

Tickets are selling fast for SENTogether’s Annual Social Finance Conference, hosted and sponsored by The Reader Organisation

September 4, 2014

We are delighted to be hosting SENTogether’s Annual Social Finance Conference – which is set to be a fantastic day – at Calderstones Mansion House.


On 12th September 2014, Social Enterprise Network will  turn the spotlight on social finance with this year’s much-anticipated conference: ‘Capital with a Conscience: A Better Solution?’ Social businesses, funders, social banks, and public and private enterprises keen to work ethically are invited to bring their best ideas to this meeting of minds.

SEN Social Finance Conference smaller

The agenda will cover everything from the future of funding in the current economic climate, to practical advice for first-timers on securing social finance, as well as exploring the burgeoning relationship between social finance and the public sector.

Speakers will include Robbie Davison of Can Cook, and Helen Heap of Seebohm Hill, who both have progressive ideas around what social lenders should really be doing. Robbie is the Director of Can Cook, a social enterprise which tackles food poverty, and he has first-hand experience of receiving social finance. He also authored a ground-breaking paper on which the first conference was based, calling for a radical re-structuring of the relationship between investors and recipients. Helen is an experienced social investment analyst, and with Robbie, has put forward the new ’Builder Capital’ model, with a view to providing community-based social enterprises with the long-term support they need.

Confirmed organisations include Key Fund, who have provided finance to over 2000 organisations and are a social enterprise themselves, and Big Issue Invest, who have recently developed new funds for the sector. More are still to be announced.

Lunch, refreshments and challenging ideas are all included in the price of your £10 ticket. If you would like to take a stall in the marketplace, please email To book tickets, click this link or search Eventbrite for ‘Capital with a Conscience: A Better Solution?’ For more information, email or call 0151 237 2664.

This event is officially sponsored by SENTogether, The Reader Organisation and Key Fund.

At The Reader Organisation we are very excited to be a part of this day.

Short Courses for September

September 2, 2014

MRL_5410-2Quick as a flash, September has arrived once more – and though the changeable weather might make you think otherwise, it’s generally the month that signals the start of Autumn. There’s also the fact that the holiday season is coming to a close, with schools swiftly starting up again and universities preparing for their next terms.

Though Summer may almost be over, we’re keeping its feelings going here at The Reader Organisation with the Short Courses for Serious Readers we have coming up this month in Liverpool and Birkenhead.

Far from being academic, our Short Courses for Serious Readers are specially designed for anyone who loves reading to enjoy getting to grips with texts that are a little more challenging in the company of fellow literature lovers. Over a day – or a number of weeks – we will enjoy great literature together, immersing into the texts and exploring together how reading good stuff can make us feel good too. There’s no need to do any homework – just turn up and be ready to discover.

For those of us feeling rather frazzled by the prospect of old routines reoccuring once more – or perhaps are just missing out the chilled out holiday vibe – find an escape at Read to Re-charge on Saturday 20th September, 10am-4pm at Calderstones Mansion House. Reading is a relaxing business, and we’ll be sharing the pure luxury that comes from reading for pleasure so you can have a truly idyllic time.
Places cost £30/£15 concessions: full information here

Perhaps you’re after a different pace altogether and are searching for a bit of adventure, but didn’t get the chance to jetset across the globe this summer (and let’s face it – round-the-world plane tickets aren’t cheap): you need look no further than our latest Short Course with Brian Nellist. Join The Reader magazine regular and Godfather of TRO to journey to some Far Places through some of the most classic works of literature. The first part of the two part course begins on Monday 29th September, 10.30am-12.30pm (every Monday for 10 weeks), with a special focus on Homer’s Odyssey. No need to go the extra mile when whole other worlds are at your fingertips.
Places cost £65/£35 concessions: full information here

Book your places on any of our Short Courses this coming Autumn or for the rest of the year by contacting Jenny Kelly: or call 0151 207 7207

You can find more information about any of our upcoming courses on our website. New dates for Read to Lead for 2015 have also been announced:

Featured Poem: Escape at Bedtime by Robert Louis Stevenson

September 1, 2014

After a fabulous few days hosting our Children’s Literature Festival -The Secret Garden of Stories – it feels fitting to continue enjoying the wonders of  Children’s Literature  in this week;s Featured Poem. For this reason, we have chosen one of our favourite Children’s poems, Escape at Bedtime by R.L. Stevenson. We hope you enjoy!

Escape at Bedtime:

The lights from the parlour and kitchen shone out
Through the blinds and the windows and bars;
And high overhead and all moving about,
There were thousands of millions of stars.
There ne’er were such thousands of leaves on a tree,
Nor of people in church or the Park,
As the crowds of the stars that looked down upon me,
And that glittered and winked in the dark.

The Dog, and the Plough, and the Hunter, and all,
And the star of the sailor, and Mars,
These shown in the sky, and the pail by the wall
Would be half full of water and stars.
They saw me at last, and they chased me with cries,
And they soon had me packed into bed;
But the glory kept shining and bright in my eyes,
And the stars going round in my head.


by Robert Louis Stevenson

Sharing literature at Latitude Festival

August 28, 2014

Last month The Reader Organisation hit the summer festival circuit as we took a trip to Suffolk for Latitude.

After a road trip covering quite a number of miles (most coming from the journey between Liverpool and Suffolk for our Comms team), we arrived at the festival site to set up home at the Shed of Stories, a haven in Henham Park:

2014-07-18 12.18.21

Over four days, festivalgoers could escape for some peace and quiet and a good dose of great literature as Lois, our South London Project Coordinator, read a selection of stories and poems aloud in special shared reading sessions on the theme of ‘Secrets, Lies and Surveillance’.

Take a peek inside…

2014-07-18 12.18.29

2014-07-19 19.39.22

Amongst colourful mats and comfy Latitude cushions, our readers cosied up and enjoyed the texts that were on offer throughout the day – as well as enjoying some tea and biscuits.

2014-07-19 19.39.27

It was great to be able to bring shared reading to a new audience at Latitude, with the Shed of Stories proving a resounding success. Whether staying for a few minutes or nearer to an hour, it was wonderful to be able to offer some pure escapism to those at the festival, and we’d love to be able to make shared reading a fixture for all festivals in future!

2014-07-19 19.39.33

Our friends at City of Readers also got in on the festival action recently, bringing the best beach reads to the Liverpool International Music Festival at Sefton Park over the bank holiday weekend. Reading and festivals – clearly the perfect combination.

See what we’ve got coming up this Autumn on the Events section of our website:


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