The first intake of young adults in the Third Space programme has been getting to grips with Reading Rooms.

Curated stories and poems

Working with stories and poems, each text has been carefully selected by our literary guides.

The texts complement the themes and issues as part of the OCN qualification in Personal Development that the programme participants are working towards.

Annotations by Verbal’s Psychology Team and Story Mappers highlight points and raise questions that will draw out reactions and get participants to think about the characters’ issues and quandaries.

Facilitators use these questions and responses to help stimulate the telling of the participants’ own stories, putting them at the centre of the text.


A look at an extract from The Invisible Man by HG Wells prompted groups to discuss what people would do if they had the power of invisibility. This led to an insightful conversation about social anxiety and feeling invisible or ignored.

Katherine Mansfield’s short story Miss Brill and a chapter from Lucy Maud Montgomery’s classic Anne of Green Gables, provoked talk of social awkwardness and self-esteem.

Lines from Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself led to a conversation about recognising our achievements and a celebration of positive outcomes.

Elsewhere, the groups responded to Zadie Smith’s White Teeth and Lemn Sissay’s poem, Island Mentality, debating differences in culture, and dating people from outside your own background.

Next steps

We’re looking forward to seeing how the groups will respond to the next Reading Rooms sessions, and what further conversations will arise. The groups are really delivering on Verbal's vision to create a world where every story matters.

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