Literacy group enjoys prize tea

The Folkestone Bookbinders group enjoying their prize tea at the town’s library

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An adult literacy group enjoyed a slap-up tea after winning a reading challenge.

The Folkestone Bookbinders group were treated to cakes and sandwiches at the town’s main library.

Bookbinders is a growing network of reading groups across east Kent that aims to help adolescents and adults connect with reading. It is run by the KM Charity Team and supported by the Salway Grassroots Fund and People’s Postcode Lottery.

The Folkestone group has been meeting regularly since November. Leader Zena Cooper said “It is a wonderful group with people of all ages and a variety of views and interest in literature.

“It’s fantastic to notice the impact it has on people ‑ increased confidence, being able to connect with new people and a growing interest in reading.

“Many people in the group have either never read or have not read for a very long time, and now they talk about what they are reading at home whilst the teas and coffees are being made.

“Every week we read a different short story or extract, and the group share their feelings, thoughts and memories.”

Bookbinders reading groups take an informal approach to promoting adult literacy, enabling people to engage with and comment on books or poems without feeling they are being judged.

Zena added: “We tackle poetry together, which many in the group find challenging. However, we always remind each other that there are no right or wrong or silly comments.”

Bookbinders coordinator Michael James delivered the tea to the group and said: “Since we started Bookbinders a year ago, this Folkestone group has met more times than any other.

“It was great to meet them all and see how much they enjoy meeting up to read every week.”

The group expressed gratitude to Folkestone Library for providing it with a room in which to meet each week.

Bookbinders supports adults and teenagers who have poor literacy skills and are outside of mainstream education.

It aims to encourage reading in a supportive environment.

The KM Charity Team offers initial support to reading groups, and has a library of specially commissioned books to lend or donate to them. Once established, groups meet for reading and discussion sessions on a weekly or fortnightly basis.

The best-performing groups benefit from monthly prizes, such as cream teas or group pizzas.

Find out more about Bookbinders at www.kmcharityteam.co.uk/schools/bookbinders/ or by contacting Michael James on 0844 264 0291 or at Mjames@thekmgroup.co.uk.

To learn more about the Folkestone group, contact Zena Cooper on 07766754827 or at zena@readingforwellbeing.org.uk.

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