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About Reading Force

At Reading Force we are passionate about using books to bring Service children and families closer together. Our shared reading initiative encourages families to read, talk, and scrapbook about a book, improving communication and enriching relationships with books and each other - one page at a time.

"Reading Force is a great idea"

“I think Reading Force is a great idea - a brilliant way of uniting families and sharing the joys of reading.”
Dame Jacqueline Wilson, award-winning author and former Children's Laureate

As an Army wife for nearly thirty years, and a mother of four children, I know all about the ups and downs of Service life and the impact it can have on a Service family. During training, active deployment, or when yet another move beckons – good communication is vital.

Over the years, when my husband was away, we would communicate through books. I would send him things I had read, he’d read them, and then we would talk on the phone about our reactions. And as the children got older we involved them too. Some good conversations resulted. Reading together created common ground and the opportunity to connect, and provided a welcome distraction from the stresses and strains of so many long separations.

In 2010 I had the idea of encouraging other Service families to share books and talk about them, and to offer them special scrapbooks to fill up. This became Reading Force. Started in Aldershot in 2011, the scheme has grown in popularity ever since. With the help of our generous funders and supporters we can now offer Reading Force to all British Armed Forces, Reserves, Cadets and ex-Services children, families and friends, nationwide.

We hope you will join in Reading Force and benefit the way we have – it is free to take part and a fun activity that all the family will enjoy, whether you are at home together or separated.

Best wishes

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"Sharing books is one of the most wonderful experiences that a family can have"

“The scrapbooks offer a fantastic opportunity to explore books and share thoughts on them, however far away from each other the family group may be. I think this is a brilliant way of bringing together Forces families through the shared joy of reading books and I am pleased to be able to add my support to it.”
Anthony Browne, former Children’s Laureate.

Meet the Reading Force team...



Dr. Alison Baverstock

Founder and Director of Reading Force

A former publisher with strong interests in widening participation and reader development, Alison is Course Leader for MA Publishing at Kingston University and the author of many titles on the book business including Is there a book in you? and The Naked Author. Alison founded Well Worth Reading, a community reading development project for libraries, which won a Business and Arts Award in 1989.



Elaine Boorman

Marketing & Development

Elaine is an experienced strategic marketer with a sound background in business development and communications. Her extensive experience of working with publishers, not-for-profit causes as well as organisations of all sizes gives her a strong blend of relevant operational, financial and marketing expertise – all now being utilised to help Reading Force develop and grow. 

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Hattie Gordon

Communications & Liaison

Hattie’s background is in community arts ventures to widen participation. She holds an MA in Publishing and her dissertation on boys’ reading habits won a prize. A published author, she has written for The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, and Art Journal. Hattie liaises with Reading Force supporters and participating groups, families, and schools – and manages press and publisher relationships. 


Fiona Maxwell

Reading Force Ambassador-Scotland

During her 34 years as an Army wife, and ten moves of home, Fiona has been a Garrison Librarian, instructor at an Army Education Centre, and Patient Co-ordinator in a Glasgow Hospice. Her love of reading has been the constant throughout her family’s military life. Fiona’s role in Scotland is generously sponsored by Annington Ltd, and visits schools and welfare settings. 

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