Reading Ahead is the new name for the Six Book Challenge.
Student Grace, 20, is finishing a Level 3 BTEC Diploma in Information Technology, as well as studying GCSE English and functional skills mathematics at Kidderminster College. She has found the Six Book Challenge has helped her rediscover reading for pleasure and to read more widely.
"As I got older I gave less and less time to reading"
I've done the Six Book Challenge (SBC) for two years running now after one of the staff from our college library came in to one of our tutorials to talk to us; there were also signs and posters up around college telling you to ask for more info in the learning resource centre. My first thought was that it sounded interesting and that I would give it a go, even though I have lots of work to do.
I used to like reading when I was little - then as I got older I gave less and less time to reading for pleasure - I was busy with school work and would only really read books that weren't for my studies when I went on holiday.
I'm in the college learning resource centre every day to study; they have a wide range of resources and you can find anything you need relating to your studies, but I've also found they've got lots of things to read for pleasure. You can go in and have a look and see what's there and the staff are really helpful; they will give you advice on things they think you might like to try.
They have a lot of Quick Reads and I read some for the Six Book Challenge; they are short and you can just read them at your own pace. I tend to read at home, and in the tutorial sessions we get. It helped me to read some of them as part of the Six Book Challenge, and then gradually build up to bigger books: I went from reading shorter books like Being Bindy by Alyssa Brugman to Harry Potter.
I also enjoyed reading poetry and classics like Of Mice And Men and Romeo and Juliet - I had to read these for my studies - I wouldn't have picked them to read for myself, and I was interested by the difference between them. I like thinking about what the writers might have been thinking about at the time, or what they were trying to do when they wrote; I like reflecting on what might have inspired them.
"I enjoyed writing my thoughts in my diary"
Doing the Six Book Challenge made me think about what I like to read and what I might recommend.
I enjoyed writing my thoughts in my diary, and giving each book a 1 to 5 star rating; I recommended books to friends, and they recommended books to me, like New Moon from the Twilight saga.
I was proud when I got my certificate for completing the Challenge from the college principal.
I would recommend the Six Book Challenge. It gives you a break from coursework, it is something to enjoy rather than study, and it helps you relax. It helped me get back into reading for pleasure; I've read more books since, and I'm definitely going to go on reading.
"Inclusivity is the delight of the Six Book Challenge"
Lisa Parmar, GCSE English lecturer at Kidderminster College, comments on the role of the Six Book Challenge:
"Inclusivity is the delight of the Six Book Challenge to me as a GCSE English lecturer. Students with diverse academic ability and reading habits sign up and rise to the challenge. It is a fantastic opportunity to share favourite writers, use the library and promote discussion of the written word in a personal and meaningful way. Many students have lost the reading for pleasure habit, some sadly feel that reading for enjoyment is not for them. This challenge challenges those attitudes and for those that participate re-kindles, re-affirms and in some cases ignites a passion for reading that benefits their studies and ultimately attainment at GCSE."
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