Reading is Caring evaluation

The aim of the Reading is Caring pilot project was to test a range of ways in which shared reading may be useful to people living with dementia and their care partners and/or care staff

The evaluation methodology included:

  • Interviews with participants (carers)

  • Observation online training sessions (via recordings)

  • Analysis of training feedback forms and informal feedback

  • Reflections by the project team

  • Statistics and documentation gathered by the project team.

Project highlights

  • Reading is Caring, devised by Scottish Book Trust, is based on the notion that shared reading is a tool that can help a person with dementia and their care partner or care staff to maintain their relationship; help the carer to find ways to join their loved one on their unique dementia journey; and also, through personal reading, find some respite from the stress caused by their caring responsibilities.

  • Reading is Caring offers comfort to people living with dementia. It promotes relaxation in everyday situations and relieves stress in more challenging circumstances.

  • Reading is Caring supports the inclusion of people with dementia in activities as they become more involved and responsive than may usually be the case.

  • Reading is Caring provides people living with dementia a means to share aspects of their identity and validates the things that are important to them and that have shaped who they are.

  • Reading is Caring offers an enjoyable, stimulating form of occupation for people with dementia. It also provides a focus for further conversation, reflection and discussion – and potentially other activities.

  • Reading is Caring supports attachment and feeling close to others as reading can prompt people living with dementia to share memories they have not done previously; play a more equal part in caring relationships; and make connections at a deeper level than is often possible through everyday conversation.

  • Reading is Caring workshops helped care partners and care staff to feel more confident in engaging in shared reading, particularly in reading aloud and slowing down their reading where appropriate (which may feel unnatural at first), but also using different types of text and integrating shared reading with other activities.

  • Reading is Caring impacts on caring relationships in a variety of ways, in particular, in bringing together the wider family and support network of the person with dementia in a shared endeavour. Shared reading is seen as a highly positive aspect of caring relationships.

  • Reading is Caring also has an impact on the mental health and wellbeing of care partners and care staff. It can be useful, not just to the person with the dementia, but also to the care partner/care staff in stressful situations, and can help care partners/care staff to feel they are making a positive difference.

Read more about the evaluation of Reading is Caring

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