Reading Ahead is the new name for the Six Book Challenge.
As John Mannion, 24, grew up, he became disenchanted with learning and left school with no qualifications; he has autism and went to a special school. He worked in a paper mill and did labouring, but he wanted to better himself, so in 2010 John enrolled to study maths and English at Bolton College. Here he tells us how improving his reading skills through doing the Six Book Challenge has really boosted his confidence.
Giving it a go
"This is the first year I have taken part in the Six Book Challenge. When I first heard about it from my tutors, I wasn't sure about doing it - I'd got fed up at school and I'd packed it in because I just wanted to start earning money.
"But I decided to give the Six Book Challenge a go.
"I thought it might help me improve with my studies. I've worked hard at college; but there are some things I struggle with ... I want to go and work on construction sites and do bricklaying, but these days there is more and more paperwork involved, so I thought reading more might help me with my vocabulary, so that I'd have a better chance of passing my exams."
Reading Andy McNab
"I started off reading a book by Andy McNab - it was about his life and how he'd not had the greatest education or start in life. It reminded me of me; I remember thinking, "Well he did it - he's a writer now, so maybe I can do it too."
"I found I enjoyed the books I read, and I enjoyed telling the other students about them. I've also started reading a Harry Potter book; I'd liked the films but the books are more interesting - there's more detail, and that's been a nice discovery."
"Completing the Six Book Challenge has boosted my confidence. We had a presentation night at college which I spoke at, and there was a photo and a quote from me in the piece in our local paper about it! (Pictures by Julie Lomax)
"I have really enjoyed taking part in the Six Book Challenge; I can't wait to sign up again next year. I definitely say give it a go!"
Find out more about Reading Ahead
Order materials to run Reading Ahead at your organisation.