Reading groups for blind and partially sighted people

Braille credit dominique archambault domi san.448x448

Anyone should be able to join or set up a reading group whether blind, partially sighted or sighted. Here a few helpful tips from RNIB to consider.

Location is key – if difficult to access or find it may mean a blind or partially sighted person cannot attend. Do any members have another disability such as being hearing impaired or a wheel chair user? Consider if there will be any carers or guide dogs which could affect space. Set the room in predictable fashion to make it easier for a blind and partially sighted person to locate their seat.

With regards to refreshments many blind and partially sighted people are diabetic, consider what you provide. Be aware that guide dogs will also need refreshments and toilet facilities!

When meeting a blind and partially sighted person, introduce yourself, offer to shake hands and inform them if moving away. Don’t leave someone talking to an empty space!

Good practice is for everyone to introduce themselves at the start so people can get to know the names either side of them. Try and always use a person’s name so everyone can get used to their voices.

When leading a group do not sit with your back to a window as it is harder for members of the group who are partially sighted to see your face.

Reading format

The choice of book is a big consideration as only seven per cent of books are fully accessible to blind and partially sighted people. Don’t be deterred, it just means more planning with your book choices.

Check availability in alternative formats such as audio, braille and giant print. RNIB’s National Library Service is a great place to start. Please take into consideration that accessible format books can take longer to read.

Image credit: Reading a good book’ © 2009 Dominique Archambault used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license


Keeping your reading group active while social distancing

Are you wondering how your reading group can continue to meet, even while you’re social distancing? With many people at home with family, flatmates or on their own, we know that books are so important to provide comfort, solace and escapism. Staying socially connected, and keeping your regular reading group meetings in your diary, is going to be very important in keeping up morale and supporting everyone’s mental health as we adjust to a new way of living.

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How to start a reading group

Interested in joining a reading group or starting one of your own? Download our quick guide to getting started.

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Hive and The Reading Agency

The Reading Agency loves books, in every form, and we know you do too. We love it when people borrow books in every format from their brilliant local libraries. We love it when reading groups get exclusive free proofs from our publisher partners. We love it when readers pick up a pre-loved book from a second-hand bookshop for a song. And we also love it when you buy yourself or someone else a brand new book from a high street bookshop. We also know that buying online is quick and convenient...

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