The Impact of Reading Groups on Engagement and Social Interaction for Older Adults with Dementia: A Literature Review


  • Dawn DeVries Grand Valley State University
  • Angela Bollin Grand Valley State University
  • Karley Brouwer
  • Alexandra Marion
  • Hannah Nass
  • Amanda Pompilius



dementia, engagement, older adults, recreational therapy, shared reading, social interaction


The purpose of this review is to explore the impact of therapeutic shared reading groups on the engagement and social interaction of older adults with dementia. Using a systematic process to search a variety of databases, research articles that examined reading groups, and in particular a format known as shared reading, were identified and examined related to older adults with dementia. The results indicate a variety of benefits that impact older adults in the areas of engagement and social interaction, as well as other areas such as quality of life and cognitive skills. No specific studies were found within the recreational therapy profession, even though reading groups are frequently utilized by recreational therapists working in skilled nursing facilities and other older adult settings. A protocol is included based on the existing research on shared reading groups to aid in the development of evidence- based practice within recreational therapy.

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Literature Review