“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
At Reading Force, we are passionate about using books to bring Forces 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.
As an Army wife for nearly thirty years, and a mother of four children, I know all about the ups and downs of Forces life and the impact it can have on a Forces 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 Forces 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-Forces 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.
“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
Message from Admiral Sir Tony Radakin KCB ADC, Chief of the Defence Staff
“Our servicemen and women make an extraordinary commitment to serve their nation. For the vast majority it is a career full of opportunity and reward. But serving at sea, or overseas, is never easy, either for the person away or those back home.
One of the things that mums, dads and grandparents in the Armed Forces miss most is reading bedtime stories, which is why the work of Reading Force to bring loved ones together through books, journals and related activities is so valuable.
Reading Force supports families of all kinds, including those that are separated, and it works with veterans too. In every case, reading improves literacy, boosts confidence and strengthens relationships.
I wish I’d had a Reading Force Scrapbook for my boys when I was serving overseas, so I am delighted that thousands of military families can benefit from the work of Reading Force today.”
“The military ethos is often just to get on with life. But there are also deep reserves of resilience and initiative within the military family, and the success of Reading Force is testament to what these strengths can achieve when they find a focus.
Even as the Armed Forces become more global in outlook and technological in nature, our continued ability to serve the nation remains rooted in the support we give to our people and their loved ones at home. I am acutely aware of the role the voluntary and charitable sector plays in this endeavour. Please pass on my best wishes to the team at Reading Force, especially those in the regions, for all that they do on behalf of the military family.”
General Sir Nicholas Carter KCB CBE DSO ADC, former Chief of the Defence Staff, supports Reading Force
“Reading Force is an excellent scheme and I am very happy to lend my support.
The idea behind Reading Force is simple. Service families under pressure often find it difficult to communicate. It is often challenging to explain what you are up to, when you are deployed in demanding circumstances, several thousand miles from home. And it is equally difficult to understand the perspective of those at home, whose life might seem mundane, but who have to shoulder the burden of living alone and the uncertainty of not knowing what deployment involves.
No amount of telephone calls can ever close that gap, so making the connection through informal reading groups, sharing feedback through the vehicle of a Reading Force scrapbook and using it as a basis for communication is a tremendous idea. I wish it had been around to support the many deployments my family has experienced in my career. I wholeheartedly commend the idea to you.”
Soldiering On Awards Finalist 2019
We’re very proud that Reading Force has been chosen as a finalist in the ‘Family Values’ category of Soldiering On Awards 2019. We are very grateful to our sponsor, Annington Ltd, for nominating us. The Soldiering On Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of those who have served their country, and the diverse people and groups who work together in support of the Armed Forces Community.
“As HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire I am delighted to support the charity Reading Force and the amazing work it does on behalf of our Service families. Hampshire has one of the biggest concentrations of Service families in the UK and I understand the importance of bringing forces children and families closer together especially when one of the family is away on active service. Reading Force helps hugely with this and I commend their website to you. It is very easy to navigate around and has some terrific content.”