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How to Celebrate the Joy Of Reading in Your Care Home?

Pretty much every parent or guardian of a young person will recall the wonders of World Book Day, where the excited offspring get to dress up as a book character, take part in literary-themed activities at school and, if they are lucky enough, get to meet authors, illustrators and others involved in the wonderful world of reading and writing books.

However, it needn’t just be the youngsters who are encouraged to celebrate World Book day, taking place this year on Thursday 2 March. Reading is one of those versatile hobbies that is accessible by people of all ages and from all walks of life. Not only does it inform and entertain, it also helps maintain an enquiring, positive outlook on life. Reading can also support people’s mental health and wellbeing. All very important aspects of supporting care home residents and helping them get the most out of life.

So, why not use World Book Day 2023 to inspire some literary themed events and activities this Spring? From dressing up as book characters to enjoying an afternoon of creative writing, there are plenty of ways in which residents and staff can enjoy spending time together exploring the multi-faceted world of books, authors and stories. To get you started, here are four fun ideas to help your community celebrate the wonderful world of words.

Competition time

There are many different ways to organise and run a book or reading-themed competition. Take inspiration from the large number of schools that hold a costume competition for participants to dress up as their favourite character from a book or play. This can be tailored to an older audience in any way you see fit, with book titles adapted accordingly as well. Alternatively, see who can read the most books in a given period of time, such as one month. Keep a tally of who is reading what with prizes for who can read the most, then print out certificates or bookmarks for the winners.

Book club

If you haven’t got a book club up and running yet, now is the perfect time to set one up. This is a highly popular way to get people together socially to discuss a book that has been chosen in advance. Participants read one or more chapters each week and are given themes and questions to reflect upon, ready to talk about at the next meeting. Book clubs can cover a wide range of book genres, as well as provide an excellent excuse for tea and cake, a buffet lunch or a glass or two of wine. People can take it in turns to choose the next book, or inspiration can be gleaned from the latest bestsellers list or film adaptations. If you are still stuck for what to read, there are plenty of suggestions online, along with lists of topical talking points to get the conversation going.

Film night

Talking of films, many of the most beloved cinematic classics have been adapted from books and plays. These range from stories written down a long, long time ago to the most contemporary of texts. Next time you are planning a film night, why not make it a literary event? You could invite everyone to read the book in advance if they wish to – or discuss it afterwards to compare the differences between the written word and the story unfolding on screen. For an added fun touch, provide cakes or biscuits decorated in the theme of the film being shown.

Creative writing

They say that we all have a novel inside us just waiting to burst out. Put this to the test by running some informal creative writing sessions. Give people plenty of space to write, as well as some pens and paper, typewriters or IT equipment and watch the creativity flow. Try not to put too many limits on what people can write – poems, short stories and longer pieces of writing all welcome. Encourage everyone to share what they have written in a reading recital at the end of the session – but respect their privacy if they would rather keep it to themselves. The most important thing is that people are given time to let their creative juices flow!

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