Who we help Young people aged 16+ Extern Pathways Working with the Irish Youth Foundation, we work with three Extern Pathways groups in Belfast: East Belfast, Shankhill, and Nelson Street. Extern Pathways provides an alternative to mainstream education for young people who are not thriving in school. Using the shared reading model We deliver Reading Rooms with the young people, some of whom experience issues with literacy. We read short stories, poems, and excerpts from novels together, aloud. Regular discussion breaks encourage the groups to reflect on what they have read and explore how it might relate to their own lives. A transformative experience The engagement with literature is enriched by spontaneous sharing of life stories and experiences. Some of the young people make detailed drawings and illustrations of how they experience what we have read together. Confidence within the groups builds over time, and relationships are made stronger and more lasting.