Today we announce a striking new design for our Reading Ahead programme for less confident readers. This invites people to pick six reads of their choice and record, rate and review their reading in a diary to get a certificate.
Now in its 12th year, Reading Ahead reached 40,000 young people and adults in 2017 through public libraries, further education and sixth form colleges, prisons and workplaces, with 93% of organisations saying it increased their participants' reading confidence and enjoyment of reading. It is supported by college principals, trade union managers, prison governors and senior library managers, all of whom see its benefits.
Mark Freeman, President of Libraries Connected (formerly Society of Chief Librarians), has seen the impact in his own libraries in Stockton. "Reading is a skill which supports every aspect of daily life and so Reading Ahead is a vital element of public libraries' reading offer. Certainly, it's an integral part of Stockton Borough Libraries annual calendar and we are always truly inspired by those who take part."
"It has changed my fear of reading into a passion"
Hayley completed Reading Ahead 2017/18 during her GCSE English course at Birmingham Metropolitan College, which has supported Reading Ahead for many years. Now 40, she began studying three years ago, motivated by a desire to learn alongside her three children, who are home schooled, so that she could support them.
Although she was daunted by the amount of reading required by her GCSE English course and by the idea of a reading challenge, Reading Ahead has completely changed Hayley's attitude."My heart sank. It would be enough to read one book let alone six. I felt defeated by reading - I used to skip the words with my brain switched off. But I got my head round it and started reading after the children had gone to bed, trying different genres. My mother loves Martina Cole so I tried her books and loved them. I was so excited to see what happened, it became an obsession. I didn't have a hobby but now I do. Reading Ahead has opened up a whole new world to me. It has changed my fear of reading into a passion."
"I finished Reading Ahead in three months," she continues. "It felt like an amazing achievement. For GCSE English you have five minutes to read and understand an extract. Now I feel confident to read between the lines. My spelling, punctuation, writing, everything has improved. It's almost like being able to read for the first time.
"My advice to anyone else is to read a page a day until you understand it. If it's not interesting put it down and find a genre you like and keep reading that. Without Reading Ahead I would never have been able to get through my GCSE English course. I really hope it helps others the way it has helped me."
Order your materials from our Shop now to ensure delivery for early September. Please note that we have a new Early Bird deadline this year of Tuesday 31 July.
See our resources page for guidance and tips on how to run Reading Ahead
If you're running Reading Ahead this year we'd love to see your pictures. Share them on Twitter using #ReadingAhead