The only thing more pleasurable than reading, perhaps, is listening to a beautifully read story. From children’s fables read at bedtime to deathbed reading, reading aloud is an integral part of our lives, from cradle to grave. Even in a world where silent reading is the norm, reading aloud remains not just a powerful way of telling a story, but also a therapeutic means for improving peoples’ physical and mental health. Thanks to our latest initiative, you can now enjoy listening to expressively read books and clever book discussions, with or without participation.
The Benefits of Reading Aloud
The positive effects of listening to books read aloud have been thoroughly researched and well-documented. For instance, a study conducted by the University of Waterloo in Canada showed that reading aloud can improve memory. The researchers discovered that people can remember more words when they read a text aloud, (a total of 27%, compared to 10% when reading silently). When asked to recognize the words they read, the results were even more striking! The group who read the text aloud could recognize a whopping 80% of words, as opposed to 60% of words recognized by silent readers.
Reading aloud can be used to treat people suffering from dementia. For instance, the University of Perugia in Italy asked its students to read aloud to dementia patients. After attending 60 therapeutic reading sessions, the patients scored better at memory tests than before.
But memory enhancement isn’t the only benefit of reading aloud. A special branch of therapy called bibliotherapy, uses the reading of specific texts for reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, eating disorders and, improving self-esteem.
This British survey encompassing over 500 individuals, showed that people use reading aloud for a variety of reasons. For example, people instinctively read out loud when they need to understand complicated texts and instructions. Many participants stated that reading aloud brings them comfort, joy and a sense of belonging.
The 2007 study has shown that reading inside a group strengthens the bonds between the participants, develops compassion and understanding for others. Reading as a shared experience has proven to be an important unifying factor, which is why people have used storytelling since the dawn of time, as a way of community building. In the past, the community would gather together to listen to a powerful narrator, who conveyed interesting stories and transferred knowledge through generations.
Reading Aloud and Expert Commentary
Believing in the power of books to improve people’s health and overall wellbeing, Book Club Bunch (BCB) and LEVEL have joined forces to launch a new and revolutionary book club for adults. By relying on the approach established by Book Club Bunch to improve the wellbeing and academic outcomes for children, we have further developed the concept of professional readings and listening with group discussions and textual commentary, for adults. The book club resides in a virtual space where people from all over the world can join and listen to chapters from marvellous books.
Unlike other book clubs that expect participants to read in advance and prepare for the conversation, we welcome anyone to join the meetings at any time and without any preparation. You just have to be there and enjoy the finest works of literature, read aloud by professional actors and English literature scholars.
There is no rigid session structure either! The conversations and discussions are spontaneous, frequently wandering off track to build a better connection with a story. Apart from governing the spontaneous discussions, our moderators will emphasize the gems of each book, and teach us to appreciate the many ways language can convey thoughts and ideas. You can, but you don’t have to join the conversations. Immerse yourself in the story, while imagination and the sound of the actor’s voice bring the stories to life.
Don’t Take Our Word for It: Try It Yourself
The new online adult book club will start its regular monthly sessions in January 2022. If you are as excited about the online sessions as we are, take part in one of our teaser events in November. During 1-1.5 long teaser sessions, you will have the opportunity to get a flavour of what’s coming. Join us as we delve into two outstanding literary works and enjoy stories read out loud by amazing actors! We work in small groups to maintain an intimate atmosphere that suits the spirit of the event, offering fewer than 20 places per session. Hurry up, and get your ticket before they run out! Gift yourself some ME (or couple) time, feel the power of a small community, and let great stories take you away!