Holding a reading event at a care home

Learn about the benefits of celebrating National Storytelling Week in your care home with a reading event. Easy to organise and great fun for everyone, these events bring enjoyment to everyone involved. Read on to find out more…

Reading or telling a story brings joy into the lives of millions of people each year. Stories are what connect us as people, young to old, across cultures and traditions. Listening to a story being told well is as entertaining and magical experience as any that you can enjoy.

This year the Society for Storytelling brought even more people together to enjoy National Storytelling Week. Events were held in schools, Care Homes / Residential Homes, offices, libraries and museum…In fact, just about everywhere there were people at the storytelling events between Saturday 26th and Saturday 2nd of February.

National Storytelling Week has been running for thirteen years, with the dates coinciding with Candlemas on the 2nd of February. This old Christian festival includes a blessing on the throat, of course the storyteller’s main instrument. It is also falls nicely after Christmas giving us all something to look forward to once the festivities are over.

How to organise a reading event in a care home

Organising a reading event in a care home is a great activity that can be enjoyed by residents and staff alike. Hiring a professional storyteller is a good idea but you can also draw on the talents of colleagues and willing volunteers.

Look for a mix of male and female storytellers to encourage everyone to take an interest. The best storytellers engage with their audience, can project their voice loudly enough for everyone to hear and ideally put some of their own personality into their oration.

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You can decide to have a theme for your event. Even if you don’t have a theme creating some continuity between the stories will help to keep your audience engaged. A nice idea would be to ask residents to read an extract from their favourite story.

Residents of Pine Lodge Care Home meet the Fir...
Residents of Pine Lodge Care Home meet the First Minister at Stormont (Photo credit: DUP Photos)

Organise a time and place where listeners can relax and listen to the stories without interruptions. Another good idea would be to ask residents to invite young people from their family and group of friends to read stories they have written or their own personal favourites.  Many of the best stories are written in simple elegant prose and there will be something suitable for all reading levels to choose from.

The Society for Storytelling has a number of resources available to help you plan a successful reading event in the future. BUPA care homes have already planned to bring the joy of storytelling to their residents at the Braid Hills Care Home, Pentland Hill Care Home and Victoria Manor Care Home.

One of great successes that a reading event can hope to achieve is bringing a whole community together who have a similar passionate interest in reading, no matter what the age gap could be. Reading is a hobby that crosses over into many genres and sub-genres. A reading event like National Stroytelling Week is a huge opportunity to bring these genres together to a wide audience who may have never have had access to such stories before. No matter how far along in life you are, a new type of story can reignite the passion for reading.

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What will you do at your reading event for National Storytelling Week? 

Author:Jamie Monteath – Follow him on Google+.