Baby at the Beach Café by Lucy Diamond, one of the 2016 Quick Reads titles, was conceived as a way to help vulnerable young mothers discover a love of reading.
In February 2016 Cornwall College received 100 free copies of the book, which is set in the West Country, thanks to a partnership between Quick Reads and Pan Macmillan.
Using Quick Reads to support adult learners
Kay, Learning Resources Manager at Cornwall College has been using Quick Reads for some time to support young mothers and other adult learners get into reading for pleasure. Working with Cornwall Libraries, she's run the Reading Ahead programme and integrated Quick Reads into this offer.
She says: "In Cornwall College Learning Centres, we have always been involved with projects to increase reading for pleasure as we know the positive impact that this has not only on learning but also on health and wellbeing. So we were very excited to be chosen for this donation of Quick Reads.
"We always purchase copies of the new Quick Reads for all the Learning Centres as these are popular with all our readers particularly those with insufficient time and those starting their reading journeys. It was wonderful to have 100 copies to work with and when I saw the title, I knew exactly where they could be best used."
Book boxes sent to young mums
The Cornwall College Group has ten Learning Centres across Cornwall and Devon, and has deeply rooted partnerships with a wide range of local communities and organisations that help local people fulfil their potential. This includes Young Mums Will Achieve, an award-winning course for pregnant young women and teenage mums aged between 14 and 19 years old. Its primary objectives are to support mums back into mainstream education, employment and training whilst supporting the development of positive parenting and life skills.
Kay explains: "We conceived the idea of sending book boxes with a mixture of Quick Reads and children's picture books, plus Reading Ahead diaries and incentives, via the tutors to the young mums. We also received some extra picture books from a local charity Cornwall Hospice Care. Reading picture books to their children helped them complete Reading Ahead while demonstrating how pleasurable sharing stories can be."
The results were impressive. Cornwall College Learning Centres asked the young mums to complete a short survey before and after completing Baby at the Beach Cafe. In the 'before' survey, only 37% had read a book in the previous six months and only 37% said that they liked reading with 26% stating that they didn't like reading at all. After reading the book, 76% said they really enjoyed it, 76% stated that they liked reading having read the book (and some of the others in the book box they received) and 15% stated that they now liked reading "a lot".
Kay says: "Many of the mums read magazines (66%) but didn't see that as reading. The project helped them to see that reading covers many things and the benefits of reading any format. One of the mums who still struggles to find time to read said 'Reading is good for children so I will read books to my son'."
Kay says: "This has been an exciting project to be involved in as it cascaded from the initial donation of Quick Reads, to the creation of book boxes to go out into the community to the donation of picture books for the project. The Learning Centre team were enthused and had great fun choosing the books for the book boxes."
The Quick Reads donation has inspired future initiatives at the Learning Centre. Kay explains: "It is likely that this year's boxes will also include some health and wellbeing titles to support the mums and children. The Learning Centre staff are also hoping to be able to visit the mums to better support Reading Ahead."
Find out about the 2017 Quick Reads titles
Read more about Reading Ahead
Visit the Young Mums Will Achieve website
Download resources to use Quick Reads at your organisation