Reading Rooms Round-Up: June ’17

We take a look at some of the poems and stories being shared around the Reading Rooms groups in the past month.

In Seven Oaks,We read an extract from Brian Keenan’s ‘I’ll Tell Me Ma’,  enabling the residents to share memories of tin baths by the fire, Tarzan in the cinema and “making our own fun swinging around lampposts”. The poem Lake Isle of Innisfree evoked memories of places special to us all and how we can keep these in our hearts and travel there in our minds whenever we wish.

Our Reading Rooms material with Simon Community NI (Bonds Hill) was ‘The End of the World’ by Mavis Gallant, and ‘Ignorance’ by Derek Mahon, to mark International Men’s Health Week. Great conversations about looking after ourselves at all ages, both mentally and physically and leaning on family or friends for support. Whilst the emphasis this year is on men reducing their waistlines, there is also the need for conversations on all things connected to health and well-being of our menfolk. We should all be encouraged to talk about our health and Reading Rooms materials have often linked in to health issues including good mental health as well as physical health for the youngest to the oldest in our community.

Thank you so much to the children at POD15 last night who thoroughly enjoyed their first Reading Room session at Ashelywood House, through our BBC Children in Need scheme. The story was ‘All Summer in a Day’ by Ray Bradbury, which stimulated a lot of conversation about bullying and the thought of never giving up hope.


For Father’s Day, we have some of the BEST dads at Little Legends! What a wonderful morning celebrating the men in our lives, looking at ‘Darth Vader and Son’ by Jefferey Brown, and The 10 Best Things About My Dad by Christine Loomis. We made brilliant medals for our Dads, step dads, grandads and brothers. I hope you all have a lovely relaxing day on Sunday! The Little Legends also read the beautiful book ‘The Cloudspotter’ by Tom McLaughlin. We were great at spotting the pictures in the clouds and we even got to make some of our clouds using our imaginations! It was so lovely to see so many parents getting creative with their kids, we love it!

Reading Rooms has a new project with DEED (Derry Engaging and Empowering Dementia) based in the Healthy Living Centre. Over the next four weeks, we will have a selection of stories and poems to enable the members attending the Memory group to share their own stories and memories.

Reading Rooms Officer Sinead Devine enjoyed her visit to Harold McCauley House where she was interviewing residents about the Henry Smith funded Reading Rooms programme. The residents voices are very much at the heart of the Reading Rooms, and within this project they are exploring shared decision making with residents, family and staff around the theme of community connectedness. Another story that has unlocked many memories in our Care Home programme is Frank O’Connor’s First Confession. The residents have enjoyed sharing memories of grandparents living with them. “It was just the done thing then.” They have also recalled sibling rivalry and as well as memories of First Communion days.

The Reading Rooms bus was busy (bus-y? bad pun – Editor) celebrating Infant Mental Health Week by visiting Dry Arch in Dungiven, Cherish Surestart in Irvinestown and LAST Surestarts in Omagh! The kids came on the bus to experience the Reading Rooms and the joys of reading together.

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