Reading Ahead is the new name for the Six Book Challenge.
Joshua is a 17-year-old student at The Manchester College who has been receiving weekly help from Dyslexia Co-ordinator Mary Read. Mary and Joshua tell us how doing the Six Book Challenge in 2012 helped improve his confidence:
"Joshua was a non-reader at the beginning of our sessions," explains Mary, "but he had improved greatly at the end of the recent academic year. He accepted the challenge of reading six items for the Six Book Challenge without hesitation and was enthusiastic throughout. He began with easier reading materials and progressed on to much harder items at the end of his journey.
"Although Joshua is not yet fully confident about reading alone," she continues, "he will now go to the library to peruse the shelves to see if anything interests him enough to have a go on his own. The whole process has generally improved his confidence in his attitude to his college studies, to other staff and with his fellow students. His course tutors have remarked on the change that has occurred over the time he has attended his 1:1 sessions and that he is beginning to make positive contributions in his classes in carpentry and joinery."
"I first heard about the Six Book Challenge from Mary who asked if I thought I'd like to do it. I am not that good at reading, but I said 'Yes, let's do it.' I was nervous, and there were times when I thought I wasn't going to be able to do it, but I stuck at, and I did it; I read six books and I enjoyed it.
"Even though I wasn't really reading at all before, when I did it, it gave me good confidence in myself and in reading. Mary got me some good books to read, and now I'm reading on my own too. My mum gets magazines from the local shop, TV magazines and so on, and I'm reading them.
"Feeling more confident about my reading and writing will help me feel more confident in my joinery classes. For anyone thinking about signing up for the Six Book Challenge, but who is maybe feeling a bit nervous or shy, I'd say just have a go. Give it a try and don't give up too easily; I tried my best and I didn't give up and I did it. Even if you are dyslexic, like me, it will be OK for you and you will enjoy it. When I got my Six Book Challenge certificate for reading the six books I did feel a bit proud; it was a good feeling."
2013 Six Book Challenge
Josh didn't stop after completing the Six Book Challenge in 2012; he's done it again in 2013, and has even completed the challenge within the first couple of months of the year.
Mary reports that he has gained so much in confidence and now enjoys reading, having just taken his 7th book out since the 2013 Six Book Challenge has started and is looking forward to progressing to higher level reading material.
Josh says: "I enjoyed doing the Six Book Challenge, and really got into it this time around. It only took me a couple of weeks this time - I read comic books, and felt more confident about reading, and I'm going to carry on reading even now that I've completed the Six Book Challenge for the second time. Feeling more confident about my reading has helped me at college with my joinery studies."
Advice to others
"For anyone thinking of signing up for the Six Book Challenge, I'd say 'Give it a go and don't give up - you can enjoy reading too.'"
Find out more about Reading Ahead
Order materials to run Reading Ahead at your organisation.