Reading Ahead is the new name for the Six Book Challenge.
Freda, 61, known as Jeanette Edwards, from South Shields, is grandmother to Ruby, aged 1 ½ and Emily, 3. She has been bringing her grandchildren to the library since they were born. They use the library every week and attend the Jiggle Wiggle rhyme times. Now she has done the Six Book Challenge which South Tyneside Libraries have been running for the past four years.
Jeanette says: "I think small children and books and libraries mix well. Being in a library with other people and other children teaches them how to behave, and it gives them a chance to hear stories and pick books up so that it becomes natural. With the children I take, we talk about the books and look at the pictures, and they get to hear new words, so they become more fluent and it helps their vocabulary.
"I love to read; I've loved it from an early age. My mum would say that I would even read the cereal box at breakfast time - if there were words I would always be reading them! It is always something that I will make time for, even if it is just ten minutes at the end of the day before I go to bed - it is time for you. Reading gives you ideas about something completely different. I've just been reading a Donna Leon book on Venice - it is somewhere I have visited with my husband and it is lovely. Reading takes you away somewhere else and brings back memories. As I've read I've recognised so many of the places she has written about.
"I was at the library as usual when one of the staff told us they were setting up the Six Book Challenge, and asked who would like to sign up and give it a go. I said yes - they had some Quick Reads books on show so I tried some of them. Once I start a book I always want to finish it, so I completed the Challenge quite quickly. It was a nice surprise, how many people also completed the Challenge and filled in their reading diaries. Everyone encouraged each other along. And then we had an event at the library where they gave out certificates for everyone who had completed the Challenge.
"At the same time as we were doing the Six Book Challenge, the children have been doing the Summer Reading Challenge, so we've also been reading books with little children. My grandchildren Ruby and Emily have both loved the books they have read - Emily has kept asking me to read the stories again, and even Ruby knows some of the words from them, so it has made a big difference already.
"It's made me think again about reading. We all read as a family and listening to the children I realised what an important part of our time together reading is.
"I really enjoy reading and going to the library - it is lovely down there and I think of the people there as part of my family. I know all the staff by first name, and when I'm out in town if I see someone from the library we always say hello and chat, so it is a great social thing. That's a really good thing about libraries, they give people a chance to meet and talk. In our library the people who have been involved in the Six Book Challenge are from right across the generations - both young mums and grannies. We chat and we mix socially so it's like this nice little club and I think that's just wonderful.
"To anyone who might be thinking about trying the Six Book Challenge, I would say that, however busy you are, reading is always something that you can make time for, even if it is just five or ten minutes. Once you find a book that catches your interest you will be away and you will find the time and it will be worth it."
Find out more about Reading Ahead
Order materials to run Reading Ahead at your organisation.