Reading Well Books on Prescription in Wales

Library User being shown Reading Well books

Reading Well supports you to understand and manage your health and wellbeing using helpful reading.

The books are all recommended by health experts, as well as people living with the conditions covered and their relatives and carers.

You can be recommended a title by a health professional, or you can visit your local library and take a book out yourself.

There are currently four bilingual Reading Well schemes available in Wales:

The following list is not part of the Wales scheme yet, but you may find it useful, and most libraries will have these books available for you to borrow:

You can borrow the books from your local library. The Welsh Government are supporting The Reading Agency to deliver Reading Well in all 22 library authorities in Wales bilingually in Welsh and English.

The Reading Agency are working with the Books Council of Wales to make more titles on the lists available in Welsh.

    Reading Well books on a table in a library setting

Reading Well Books on Prescription for dementia was launched in Wales in 2018 as part of the new Dementia Action Plan for Wales. The books provide information and advice for people living with dementia, support for living well, advice for relatives and carers, as well as fiction, memoir and photographic books used in reminiscence therapy. They are endorsed by health professionals and can all be found in the local library.

Reading Well Books on Prescription for mental health was launched in Wales in 2019. It provides helpful information and support for managing common mental health conditions, or dealing with difficult feelings and experiences. Some books also include personal stories from people who are living with or caring for someone with mental health needs.

On World Book Day 2020, the Books Council of Wales held a special event on the topic of reading and mental health at Venue Cymru in Llandudno, in support of Reading Well Books on Prescription in Wales.


Welsh language Reading Well books

Reading Well Books on Prescription for children was launched in Wales on World Mental Health Day 2020, by The Reading Agency and public libraries. The booklist responds to the increasing demand for expert-endorsed information and advice to support children to understand and manage their mental health and wellbeing, with book collections and supporting resources made available in both English and Welsh. 
The Reading Well for children booklist contains 33 books selected to address key challenges facing children today. The titles in the list deal with topics from anxiety and grief, to bullying and internet safety, to how to cope with events in the news. The booklist also explores living well with a range of diagnosed conditions including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), dyslexia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and physical disabilities. The booklist is targeted at children in Key Stage 2 and includes titles suitable for a wide range of reading levels to support less confident readers, and to encourage children to read together with their siblings and carers.
Read more about the Reading Well for Children scheme
Reading Well for Children poster

The new Reading Well for Teens booklist was launched in England and Wales on 10th October 2022 on World Mental Health Day.

Reading Well for teens supports the mental health and wellbeing of teenagers, providing helpful information, advice and support to help them better understand their feelings, handle difficult experiences and boost confidence. The list has been developed as an update to the 2016 Reading Well for Young People (“Shelf Help”) list and is focused on supporting teens’ mental health and wellbeing in a post-pandemic context.

The booklist is targeted at teenagers (13-18) and includes a range of reading levels and formats to support less confident readers and encourage engagement. Some of the recommended books suggest useful self-help techniques; there are also personal stories, graphic formats, and fiction. Alongside the books are a selection of quality assured age-appropriate digital resources. The books have been chosen by young people, leading health professionals and library staff.

Over 3 million Reading Well books have been borrowed from libraries since 2013, and 90% of people surveyed have found their book helpful. In Wales in 2020-21, at least 14,000 Reading Well books were borrowed from public libraries. This includes over 7,000 books from the Reading Well for children list, over 5,000 from the Reading Well for mental health list, and over 1,600 from the Reading Well for dementia list. In addition, over 32,000 Welsh books have been sold since 2019.

Reading Well is delivered by The Reading Agency in partnership with Libraries Connected as part of the Libraries Connected Universal Health Offer, and Society of Chief Librarians Cymru. It is funded by Arts Council England and Welsh Government.


Lady reading a Reading Well title in a library setting

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