Sometimes you wonder why on earth it has not been done before!

Sometimes you wonder why on earth it has not been done before!

A Headteacher in Plymouth has created one such project in her school, and Jane Jackson, founder of Bristol Grandparents Support Group, a registered charity went down to meet her and to see it in action.

It involves an older member of the community listening to children reading.

Nothing unusual about that except this is very different.

Elisabeth Carney-Haworth has created Silver Stories to support the children and older members of the community in her area.

Dame Esther Rantzen, who launched the project calls it “A genius idea.”

Silver StoriesFirstly they indentified possible Silver Listeners, (an older person who will listen) and then followed up with a home visit by a member of staff, to explain how the project works.

At an agreed time, a member of staff will telephone the Silver Listener and the phone is put on speaker phone, the pupil who is doing their reading will read a poem or a chapter from their book, usually no more than about 5-6mins.

The interaction between both parties is wonderful, the children gain confidence with their reading and the Silver Listener clearly looks forward to the weekly contact.

One Silver Listener said,  “I love hearing the children read each week.  It has really stopped me from feeling cut off from the world.”

One child said, “Silver Stories is fun because we get to read to people in our community.  I always try my best and use expression to make my reading interesting for the listener.”

Jane said, “We are all aware of the fact that there are many older people who are feeling isolated and alone in our society, and often they don’t have the opportunity to communicate with the younger generation, Silver Stories is just one way that this can be addressed.”

The hope now is to get as many schools  involved as possible.

Your school could also be ‘brightening someone’s day,’ please contact Jane Jackson on T: 07773258270 or email