Last year Northampton College won a Gold Award for their work with Reading Ahead, achieving 178 completers. We caught up with librarian, Lynn, to find out how they're adapting to Covid-19 and continuing to support readers to complete the programme.
How has the library at Northampton College had to adapt due to Covid-19?
We closed very quickly and have been at home for seven weeks now, everything we do now is digital or by telephone. We have set up ways to complete our schemes and competitions (including Reading Ahead) via our Library website. Everything we do is to prepare for September and must still assume physical distancing and working from home.
How have these changes effected how you run Reading Ahead? What are your registered and completer numbers at the moment?
We have had to rethink our whole way of doing things, usually we have lots of face to face contact with students who regularly visit and use the Library for reading resources. We have been in contact with our registered students via text, personal emails and on their eILPs. We have also contacted tutors who are still teaching digitally to remind students to carry on with Reading Ahead.
We have 408 students registered and so far 50 completers. Traditionally we have many finishers in May/June so we are hoping to encourage this trend again.
What are the main challenges?
Providing resources for students to read - we have posted access to free reading resources on our website eg. First News, Penguin Readers, BBC Radio 2- 500 words.
Many students left their diaries in classrooms so we published an online form on our website to submit their reading and also emailed students a diary in table form which they can fill in and send back to us.
"I loved reading so many books, it truly made me feel so much better this year. I loved the first ever book I picked up, actually I love reading books now - it truly means alot to me and you made it that way for me.' Mahima, Reading Ahead completer at Northampton College.
Our Awards Ceremony is a big event each year so we are having to rethink how to recognise student achievement. We are organising a virtual Ceremony, pre-recorded and sending students a personalised digital certificate until we can get a paper copy to them. We have a local author, the college Librarian, Principal and Vice Principal recording video clips to include and this will be launched and publicised in June to all who finished Reading Ahead, won competitions and completed other Library schemes.
What advice would you give to other college librarians who would like to continue with Reading Ahead?
We are having to change how we do everything at the moment with a view of Reading Ahead being on the whole, digital from now on, registration, support, encouragement, certificates...
We had our first students attend the Library two weeks ago for a couple of hours (only a few vulnerable students) and they were continuing their learning and improvement of their reading skills with Reading Ahead (whilst observing social distancing of course!).
What texts have your Reading Ahead participants been enjoying reading recently?
The free reading resources I mentioned above. Also, tutors are sending students articles to read and many students managed to get books from us just before we closed.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to share how you're adapting during this time or get support.
Download the Reading Ahead during Covid-19 toolkit from the resources database.
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