All over the country organisations running the Six Book Challenge are encouraging participants to complete their reading diaries in time for that all-important award ceremony. An incentive always helps: the photo above shows Stephen Lay, Principal of Southend Adult Community College, drawing a prizewinner from the first 50 learners to complete the Challenge this year. Robert Nunn, a learner on the 'English - Return to Work' course, won six Quick Reads.
It's been great to hear from a few of the organisations who have already held award ceremonies for the 2014/5 Six Book Challenge. Keep sending us your pictures and stories by email or on Twitter
Islington Libraries invited the Mayor, Councillor Theresa Debono, and poet Paul Lyalls to do the honours at their celebration.
Completers included several students from City & Islington College, ESOL learners and people who attend classes at the First Steps Centre, next to Islington Central Library. Carmel Temple, in her 40s, really enjoys working with her tutor Julie Robinson. She said: "I was proud to get my certificate. I've got more confidence and I use the library now. I read Roald Dahl and listen to audio books."
Eight years on, library staff at Northampton College are still achieving impressive impact with the Six Book Challenge and will win another gold award this year for supporting well over 200 completers. They've held award ceremonies at two of their three sites - Booth Lane and Daventry - with author Mark Robson handing out certificates to a wide range of students from supported learning and ESOL courses. Genevieve Clarke from The Reading Agency was interviewed for their film.
"We support literacy in any way we can," said College Principal Pat Brennan-Barret, a keen reader who has herself taken part in the Challenge. "We will continue to support this initiative."
More than 90 completers, including ten members of staff, are celebrating at Kidderminster College - many more than in previous years. "I completed the Six Book Challenge last year and enjoyed it so signed up again," said GSCE English student Grace Kerrigan. "This time I liked reading poetry the best as it allowed me to connect with what the poet was feeling."
Learning Resources Coordinator Lisa Lawson has some useful top tips for other colleges running the programme:
• Team up with enthusiastic tutors to push the project together.
• Establish personal contact with participants every couple of weeks to keep the momentum going.
• Work in partnership with the public library, but don't expect every group to do this as it is too time consuming to organise. Be targeted - we concentrate on foundation learners for public library visits.
• Get senior management to support the initiative by attending the prize-giving ceremony.
• Give out practical prizes to completers - we offered a college-branded memory stick.
• Open up the Challenge to as many courses as possible - I offered it to ESOL learners and GCSE participants as well as Foundation/Entry and Level 1 learners this year.
Take a look at Twitter for news about about other Six Book Challenge events and tweet about your own using @readingagency #SixBookChallenge
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