In response to demand from colleges, we're pleased to mark Adult Learners' Week (14 - 20 June) by announcing new materials for the Six Book Challenge 2015. This allows organisations to order reading diaries, publicity material and incentives from our shop in time for the start of the new academic year in September. This year's messsage is, "Read anything. Read anywhere." which makes clear that Six Book Challenge participants can choose whatever they like to read in order to take part, particularly if they're just starting out with their reading.
Meanwhile libraries, colleges, workplaces and prisons around the UK are celebrating the life-changing achievements of readers who have successfully completed this year's Challenge with many more encouraging their participants to reach their goal. The scheme has grown five fold over the past six years, with a growing number of sixth form and further education colleges recognising it as a key intervention to support better literacy. So far Bolton College (pictured here) has over 270 completers this year (100 up on 2013), Northampton 220 and The Manchester College well over 450 across its ten sites.
"When improving students' life chances by gaining a GCSE in English - which is seen as the door that opens up opportunities for young people and adults - it is so important to establish reading competency but also reading fluency and enjoyment," says Joy Mercer, director of education policy for the Association of Colleges. "The Six Book Challenge is helping to establish reading as a pleasurable activity and demonstrates its impact on students' skills development."
Public libraries' support for adult learners is also crucial. Amy Gaskin, 54, from Nottinghamshire, comes from a travelling family. She did not go to school as a child and did not start to learn to read or write until she recently began attending adult learning classes run by Derbyshire Adult Learning.
Amy says: "I feel like a new, more confident person now. I'm proud of myself for going to classes and sticking at them. And when I finished the Six Book Challenge and got my certificate, well can you imagine how I felt? I'd never been to school or got any qualifications, so it felt really good!"
Genevieve Clarke, our Six Book Challenge Programme Manager, says: "Every year we hear stories from people for whom the Six Book Challenge has proved a crucial stepping stone into the word of reading. We remain committed to this important work and immensely grateful to hundreds of practitioners in libraries, colleges, learning centres, prisons and workplaces who make it a reality at local level."
Organisations planning to run the Six Book Challenge 2015 can now order packs and incentives from our shop and find guidance and templates on our resources page. Order by Monday 14 July if you would like materials delivered for early September.
Materials for 2014 are also available from the shop if you are still running this year's Challenge. We encourage all organisations running the Six Book Challenge 2014 to complete our evaluation forms by Monday 7 July so that we have your current data.
Individuals who would like to take part in the Six Book Challenge can contact Genevieve Clarke and we'll put you in touch with an organisation in your area who is running it.
Read more about how Amy felt when she couldn't read and how her life has changed since taking the Challenge.