Reading Ahead is the new name for the Six Book Challenge.
Polly Denton, 20, is currently studying a one year OCR Life and Living Skills (Entry Level 2) diploma course at Northampton College. The course focuses on English and Maths, together with employability skills, enterprise and community awareness. It is part of the College's Supported Learning offer, which provides programmes individually tailored to the needs of students with a learning difficulty or disability - Polly has a growth problem and speech challenges. The aim of Supported Learning courses is to provide individuals with educational opportunities and challenges that will enable them to fulfill their potential and develop skills for living and work.
Here, Polly tells us about her experience of taking part in the Six Book Challenge alongside her other studies.
Overcoming spelling issues
When I left school at 16 I didn't know what I wanted to do; I had no career ideas. I came to look around Northampton College and was inspired by the courses on offer.
I'd always loved reading, but we didn't do much of it at school, and I'd struggled with spelling and needed help. That's why it's been great that we've done lots of reading and writing work at college, including a weekly spelling game which has improved my spelling a lot, and the Six Book Challenge.
I've done the Six Book Challenge for two years running now. I first found out about it when my class were visiting the college library where they were promoting it. They explained how you do it; that you keep a diary of what you read and get it stamped every time you finish a book.
I love reading big books; the first time I did the Challenge I read Jacqueline Wilson and Roald Dahl books. This year I read a lot of Harry Potter books.
Helping with papers and coursework
The good thing about doing the Six Book Challenge is that you can choose any book you want to read. It helps you read and learn more words: I found that words I'd struggled with before I could put in a spelling book which our teacher gave us, and then find out what they meant. It's easier to work out the meaning of a word you don't know when it's been used in a book that you're into.
So the Six Book Challenge has helped to improve my spelling and writing; reading lets you see words and sentences being used properly. I think that feeling confident about reading and writing is really important; as part of my studies at college I have papers and coursework to write, and the Six Book Challenge has helped me with that. It is a really good way to learn, and to understand more about reading and writing.
I've really been into my studies this year. I'm a student ambassador at college, and this September once I've got my Life and Living Skills grade and certificate, I'm going to go to nearby Moulton College to study an animal welfare course; I now want to work with animals.
Find out more about Reading Ahead
Order materials to run Reading Ahead at your organisation.