Claire Melhado is an English teacher at Warrington & Vale Royal College. Here she explains to us why and how the College runs Reading Ahead.
Who takes part in Reading Ahead?
Warrington & Vale Royal College caters for students age 16 to 18 and adults. All English teachers deliver Reading Ahead at the college; they use it for students taking GCSEs and Functional Skills courses. Students read and review six books; completing their booklet enters them into a prize draw. The college had 210 Reading Ahead completers this year.
Claire explains: "All students taking English take part in Reading Ahead. These are students that have not attained GCSE Grade 4 in English at 16 so they are resitting. They are typically poor readers, or don't read at all."
The importance of library partnerships
Warrington & Vale Royal College has a strong partnership with public libraries.
Claire explains: "We run Reading Ahead hand in hand with Livewire public libraries. Together we promote and enable reading for pleasure and support each other with a shared philosophy of the importance of reading for the local community.
Livewire are a big part of the college's end-of-year Reading Award Ceremony and spend time speaking to the students and inspiring reading. There is a natural bridge between Livewire public libraries and the college library. Our students know the library staff from both organisations which is very satisfying.
Both our libraries share ideas about the benefits of reading for mental health and both have 'Shelf Help' books. Both of our libraries use and promote the Reading Agency's excellent online resources and try to involve themselves as much as possible in promoting reading nationally."
Why students enjoy Reading Ahead
Claire says that Reading Ahead promotes a calmness in her students.
She explains: "Many students tell us they enjoy the quiet time when they can sit and read. We've seen improvements in coursework and GCSE work. Reading has contributed to calming learners down and promotes readiness to learn, especially when run at the start of the lessons. Students enjoy choosing books and not being forced to read something they don't want to."
Claire tells us that the college has ambitious plans for Reading Ahead in the next few years.
She says: "All adults taking Improve your English courses will be included in the scheme. We will continue to grow the scheme across the college and strengthen our links with Warrington Livewire. We plan additional activities to support and complement the scheme - including continuing Reading Elevenses (inviting staff members to read from a favourite book to students) and we are considering the possibility of running a book club. We are planning on encouraging listening to reading in class as well."
Find out more about Reading Ahead including how to run it in your organisation
Use our Find a read tool to pick your next book
Read about Claire's student Nina who used Reading Ahead to help her confidence in exams